Paraphrase Tool


Updated Jul 4, 2023

The Power of Apophasis: Exploring the Rhetorical Device of Apocarteresis

Have you ever wondered how some speakers or writers manage to convey powerful messages without explicitly stating them? This is where the power of rhetorical devices comes into play. One such device that has been used throughout history is called apocarteresis. In this blog article, we will delve into the fascinating world of apocarteresis, understand its meaning, and explore some accurate examples of its usage.

What is Apocarteresis?

Apocarteresis, derived from the Greek words "apo" (away) and "karteresis" (keeping), is a rhetorical device that involves deliberately omitting a specific word or phrase that is expected to complete a sentence. By intentionally leaving out this crucial information, speakers or writers create a sense of intrigue, highlight the unsaid, and encourage the audience to actively engage with the message. Apocarteresis is often used to emphasize the unuttered or to draw attention to what is intentionally left unsaid.

Examples of Apocarteresis

1. "I cannot speak to his loyalty, but his actions speak volumes."

In this example, the speaker deliberately avoids explicitly stating the person's loyalty, leaving it open to interpretation. By emphasizing the actions instead, the speaker creates a sense of curiosity and encourages the audience to analyze the individual's behavior to form their own conclusions.

2. "She has a certain... charm."

By using apocarteresis in this sentence, the speaker intentionally omits the adjective that would accurately describe the person's charm. This creates ambiguity and allows the listener to fill in the blank, enabling them to interpret the speaker's words based on their own perceptions and experiences.

3. "His qualifications are impressive, to say the least."

In this example, the speaker uses apocarteresis to downplay the impressive qualifications of the person being discussed. By adding the phrase "to say the least," they indirectly suggest that the qualifications are even more remarkable than what is being stated. This use of apocarteresis adds an air of understatement, inviting the listener to wonder just how impressive the qualifications truly are.

4. "I won't even mention his absence at the meeting."

By employing apocarteresis in this sentence, the speaker intentionally avoids directly discussing the person's absence. This omission draws attention to the absence itself and implies that it is significant enough to be noticed and discussed, without actually stating why. The unsaid becomes a focal point, leaving the audience to speculate and seek answers.

The Impact of Apocarteresis

Apocarteresis serves as a powerful tool for speakers and writers to engage their audience and encourage active participation in the interpretation of their message. By skillfully omitting key information, apocarteresis prompts listeners or readers to fill in the gaps, creating a sense of involvement and intellectual stimulation. This rhetorical device invites critical thinking, evokes curiosity, and can be particularly effective in emphasizing the unspoken aspects of a topic.


Apocarteresis, as a rhetorical device, demonstrates the power of omission and the impact of what is left unsaid. By leaving out specific words or phrases, speakers or writers can effectively engage their audience, encourage active participation, and provoke deeper thought. Through the accurate examples provided, we have explored how apocarteresis can create intrigue, emphasize the unuttered, and stimulate intellectual curiosity. So, the next time you encounter a message that prompts you to fill in the blanks, remember the power of apocarteresis at play.


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