What is Cataphasis?

Cataphasis (etymologically from Greek, literally “affirmation”), is a rhetorical device by which a speaker explicitly affirms the negative qualities of something, and then passes it over.

In other words, the Cataphasis consists where a speaker figuratively mentions a subject only to deny that it should be even mentioned. Cataphasis is the precise opposite of apophasisOpens in new window

A Classic Example

  1. As when a speaker subjectively refers to homosexuality as an “unsafe and obscene activity” which should better not be discussed.

    — (Alan Hollinghurst, 2004, p.174)

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