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:
- A: ‘Here, have one.’
B: ‘No, I shouldn't.’
A: ‘Go on, it's ok.’
B: ‘Well, if you insist...thank you.’ (This is example is courtesy of: Changingminds.org/AccismusOpens in new window)