One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural prolepsesmass nounRhetoric
1The anticipation and answering of possible objections in rhetorical speech.
expectation, prediction, forecastView synonyms
- ‘Drexler's book Engines of Creation is an extraordinary exercise in prolepsis: he meticulously refutes every technical objection he can anticipate.’
- ‘For Gilio, prolepsis was a ‘figure,’ a rhetorical device employed to augment the beauty of the work.’
2The representation of a thing as existing before it actually does or did so, as in he was a dead man when he entered.‘the destruction of the Vendôme Column and his part in it are foreshadowed in moments of haunting prolepsis’Compare with analepsis
Late Middle English (as a term in rhetoric): via late Latin from Greek prolēpsis, from prolambanein ‘anticipate’, from pro ‘before’ + lambanein ‘take’.
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