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accismus

a form of irony in which a person feigns indifference to or pretends to refuse something he or she desires. The fox's dismissal of the grapes in Aesop's fable of the fox and the grapes is an example of accismus. A classic example is that of Caesar's initial refusal to accept the crown, a circumstance reported by one of the conspirators in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The word is from the Greek akkismos, "prudery," and is a derivative of akkizesthai, "to feign ignorance."

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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