Prolepsis (from the Greek prolambanein, to anticipate) can be:

  1. A figure of speech in which a future event is referred to in anticipation. For example, a character who is about to die might be described as "the dead man" before he is actually dead. The same device can be used in non-verbal media such as film, where it is also called flashforward. [Source: Britannica]
  2. The anticipation of an objection. For example, a speaker might say "'Ah', you say, 'but that is impossible!'" Here the speaker is anticipating the objection 'Ah, but that is impossible!' from his audience—and is probably about to refute that objection before it arises. This form is more accurately called procatalepsis.
  3. A grammatical construction that consists of placing an element in a syntactic unit before that to which it would logically correspond. Example: "That noise, I just heard it again", where that noise grammatically belongs in place of it.
  4. A philosophical concept used in ancient epistemology (in particular by Epicurus and the Stoa) to indicate a so-called "preconception", i.e., a pre-theoretical notion which can lead to true knowledge of the world.

Prolepsis may also refer to:

Proleptic may also refer to:

See also


  • Smyth, Herbert Weir (1920). Greek Grammar. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-36250-0.

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