I've been looking for a word in English that expresses the following meaning:

The state of wanting something but feigning disinterest because you want the other party to insist, ask more forcefully/affectionately, etc.

So far, the best word I've found is accismus. Now I'm wondering if it also has an adjective I can use. Unfortunately, dictionaries haven't been of much help. If there is no such word, do you think accismatic can be a welcome addition to English vocabulary?

  • 2
    Accismus is pretty high-register. In colloquial speech you might want to go with something like playing hard to get.
    – user405662
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 8:44
  • What is the context where you want to use this? If you're addressing readers who will be familiar with the terminology of classical rhetoric, they'll probably understand, if you get the word form right (I don't know enough Latin to tell you if -atic is the right suffix to use there). Anyone else is going to be scratching their heads, and you could make up whatever word you wanted, they'll rely on you providing context or a glossary anyway.
    – IMSoP
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 10:55
  • 2
    This has resurfaced, SEZ. Hello. 'Do you think accismatic [could] be a welcome addition to English vocabulary?' I've a pretty reasonable vocabulary (including rhetorical terms), but had to check on accismus. User405662 is using understatement. You could introduce 'accismatic' in clarifying context with scare-quotes as a nonce-word to a suitable audience if you find it useful, but that doesn't convey 'wordness'. A more general acceptance (which accismus has achieved; it's in several respected dictionaries) is required. One person can invent words (eg 'hobbit', 'quidditch'). But rarely. Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 12:22

2 Answers 2


You are looking for a single word. This requires that you give an example sentence that clearly shows how you wish to use it.

In the meantime, dissimulate -> dissimulated is not exact but it is close:


2.a. To conceal or disguise under a feigned appearance; to dissemble.

1882 R. L. Stevenson New Arabian Nights I. 193 If ever..he described some experience personal to himself, it was so aptly dissimulated as to pass unnoticed with the rest.

As far as the etymology is concerned:

accismus, n. Etymology: < post-classical Latin accismus (1528 in Erasmus) < Hellenistic Greek ἀκκισμός coyness, affectation < ancient Greek ἀκκίζεσθαι to affect indifference, to affect ignorance, dissemble, to affect to be shocked, to be coy


I would say that's appropriate from what I see, and there's no adjective for the term. It was the first thing I thought of. I'm not sure if the term is coined, but I doubt anyone would correct you in conversation.

  • It would help if you offered some evidence, either examples of authors using the word, or at least explaining how comparable words form adjectives, e.g. strabismus gives strabismal or strabismic.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 16:13

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