from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act of passing by, disregarding, or omitting.
  • n. Law Neglect of a testator to mention a legal heir in his or her will.
  • n. Christianity The Calvinist doctrine that God neglected to designate those who would be damned, positively determining only the elect.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of passing by, disregarding or omitting.
  • n. A rhetorical device in which the speaker emphasizes something by omitting it.
  • n. The failure of a testator to name a legal heir in his will.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of passing, or going past; the state of being past.
  • n. A figure by which, in pretending to pass over anything, a summary mention of it is made.” Called also paraleipsis.
  • n. The omission by a testator of some one of his heirs who is entitled to a portion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of passing over or by, or the state of being passed over or by.
  • n. Specifically In Calvinistic theology, the doctrine that God, having elected to everlasting life such as should be saved, passed over the others.
  • n. In rhetoric, a figure by which a speaker, in pretending to pass over anything, makes a summary mention of it: as, “I will not say he is valiant, he is learned, he is just.” Also pretermission.
  • n. In law, the passing over by a testator of one of his heirs otherwise entitled to a portion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. suggesting by deliberately concise treatment that much of significance is omitted


Late Latin praeteritiō, praeteritiōn-, a passing over, from Latin praeteritus, past participle of praeterīre, to go by; see preterit.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • Third, Olson raises this objection in the context of preterition and reprobation (he never uses the term preterition and seems to be unaware of this important distinction).


  • (Let me again remind our readers that the rhetorical figure I so much enjoy using is called preterition, as in: "If I were as mean as my opponent, I would remind him that his mother sold not only homemade cakes to her male customers, but, being a gentleman, I will pass over that fact.")


  • Paralipsis, also known as praeteritio, preterition, cataphasis, antiphrasis, or parasiopesis, is a rhetorical figure of speech wherein the speaker or writer invokes a subject by denying that it should be invoked.

    Obama says George Bush is "a good guy," "a good man," and "a good person."

  • Their doctrine of election, they are free to tell us, for example, does certainly involve a corresponding doctrine of preterition.

    The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

  • Two means are fore-ordained for the execution of the act of preterition: (1.)

    The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1

  • As far as we are capable of comprehending their scheme of reprobation it consists of two acts, that of preterition and that of predamnatian.

    The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1

  • Indeed no others are damned, except those who are the subjects of this act of preterition.

    The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1

  • The second of these reasons is that which states the two parts of reprobation to be preterition and predamnation.

    The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1

  • For the second kind of Predestination places election, with regard to the end, before the fall; it also places before that event preterition, [or passing by,] which is the first part of reprobation.

    The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1

  • A particular mode or signification is when it is opposed to election, and designates non-election or preterition (a Latin phrase derived from forensic use) in which sense the fathers used it according to the common use of the Latins.

    The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 3


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