An Introduction to Accismus

Accismus (derives from Greek word ‘akkismos’ meaning “demure” or “coy”), is a kind of ironyOpens in new window which denotes a deliberate and feigned refusal of something earnestly desired. Here, the person whom something is offered pretends to show indifference or lack of interest in the object; often with a hidden hope that the offer be insisted and renewed.

A classic example is that of Caesar’s initial refusal to accept the crown, a circumstance reported by one of the conspirators in William ShakespeareOpens in new window’s Julius CaesarOpens in new window.

Accismus may be genuine. It may also be a feigned modesty. Basically, the first person offers something, which the second refuses. The first insists then the second reluctantly accepts, as indicated below:

Further Readings: | Figures: AccismusOpens in new window
Encyclopaedia Britannica | Literature: AccismusOpens in new window
Bullinger, E. W. | Figures of Speech Used in the Bible: AccismusOpens in new window