Preterition is defined as a synonym of pretermission and paraleipsis. All these words signify an omission in argument. Pretermission is the noun form of the verb pretermit, which means “to omit” or “to let pass without mention or notice.” The verb is Latin-based, derived from praeter, meaning “by, past,” and mittere, “to let go, send.” Pretermission means “omission.” In Greek, paraleipsis means “omission”; it is from the verb paraleipein, “to omit” or “to leave untold.” Although these words imply omission, they are used in contexts in which that which is said to be omitted is brought to one’s attention, as with the phrases “needless to say” or “it goes without saying” before a statement.

Office seekers find in preterition a very useful device, in that they can bring to an audience’s attention the most damaging features of their opponent’s position and background and at the same time present themselves as too principled to be actually indulging in mudslinging. The following might be considered a representative sample: “I intend to conduct this campaign on a respectable level. Thus, I will not refer to my opponent’s divorce, the suits that have been brought against him for nonpayment of alimony, his having been in jail several times on the charge of driving while impaired. No, I will not stoop to such a level. As I said, I intend to conduct this campaign on a higher level.” 
— Samuel R. Levin, Shades of Meaning, 1998

Little has been written on the implications of the new research for Hayek’s critique of collectivist central planning—not a surprising state of affairs, given that the new research is still at a fairly early stage of development and that much of it is coming from outside the science of economics. Perhaps another reason for this pretermission has to do with the extremely formal and technical nature of this new research. Those not trained in both higher mathematics and the methods of computer simulation will find the primary literature difficult at best, if not altogether incomprehensible. 
— Will C. Heath, The Independent Review, Summer 2007

It is singular that the figure paraleipsis, or omission, so highly prized by the ancient orators, and so common in the public speeches of today, should have failed to receive a notice from modern text-writers. By paraleipsis, a speaker, while bringing ideas forward for the purpose of excluding them, fixes the attention on the apparently excluded ideas in such a skilful way as to secure their full force and effect. Though negative in form, it is positive in meaning; it has the force of paradox, and aptness of irony.
— Harry Franklin Covington, The Fundamentals of Debate, 1918


Rate this post


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here