by Paul Niquette
Copyright ©1996 Resource Books All rights reserved.

pretermission n. form of pretermit tr.v. 

  1. To disregard intentionally, or allow to pass unnoticed or unmentioned. 
  2. To fail to do or include; omit; neglect. 
A long time ago, someone told me that "pretermission" means the practice of saying things like, "I don't mean to criticize, but..." -- most often as a feigned disavowal. The dictionaries I own do not seem to support that definition.

"Don't take this personally, but..." facilitates something like "...your feet stink."  Whatever follows the comma-but is made curiously more annoying by the gratuitous disclaimer -- whatever its proper name.

It almost does not matter what follows a spouse's, "If you really loved me,..."  The marriage is deeply distressed if not doomed.  A label like pretermission could serve as a counselling instrument for sensitizing partners to manipulative behaviors.

Before applying the term, you will want to check other references.  Good luck.  I have not succeeded in authenticating the connotation, so I decided to forego its use, however handy.  The closest term may be "praeteritio," which for sure I don't use.  It applies to benign expressions such as, "not to mention" or "to say nothing of."  What I have in mind is stronger.

"Spare me the pretermission," I would like to say, interrupting the next person who starts out with: "To make a long story short,..."

Pity to pretermit so powerful a put-down.

101 Words
Table of Contents
Top of Article