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Accismus

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Accismus

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Feigned or pretended refusal of something which is actually desired.

Example

How kind, but you need it more than me.

No, I don't want it now!

Discussion

Accismus happens when a person refuses something that they really want. Why would they do this? A very common reason is because they are being offered something where acceptance would break some belief or value, for example where to accept would be to take something that another person needs more.

Refusal may happen with the intent of slighting the person offering. Thus, for example, a man offers flowers to a woman who he has annoyed. She turns her nose up at them, even though they are her favorites.

Accismus may be genuine. It may also be false modesty. In a fuller game, the first person offers something, which the second refuses. The first insists then the second reluctantly accepts.

A: 'Here, have one.'
B: 'No, I shouldn't.'
A: 'Go on, it's ok.'
B: 'Well, if you insist...thank you.'

Classification: Falsehood

See also

 

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