There is a word that describes the act of implying something via a denial of that same thing. I have forgotten the word and can no longer find it online using my search-fu. What is the word?

eg: "The papers say he is a rascal. I would never say that!"


1 Answer 1


Wikipedia apophasis

Apophasis (/əˈpɒfəsɪs/; Greek: ἀπόφασις from ἀπόφημι apophemi,1 "to say no")[2] is a rhetorical device wherein the speaker or writer brings up a subject by either denying it, or denying that it should be brought up.[3] Accordingly, it can be seen as a rhetorical relative of irony.
The device is also called paralipsis (παράλειψις) – also spelled paraleipsis or paralepsis – or occupatio,[4][5][6][7] and known also as praeteritio, preterition, or parasiopesis (παρασιώπησις).

(The number are references within the Wikipedia article.)

Incidentally, this Wikipedia reference was the second link on a DuckDuckGo search on your exact phrase:

What is the word for implying something by denying it?

The first hit was your post here.

  • That's it. Thank you!
    – 52d6c6af
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 11:45
  • Please check for duplicates. It's contrary to ELU's mission statement to have multiple repeats; for one thing, it usually makes searching harder. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 14:52

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