Figure Name procatalepsis
Source Silva Rhetoricae (; Macbeth (1876) ("anticipation," "prolepsis," "procatalepsis")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms procatalipsis, prolepsis, praesumptio, praeoccupatio, anticipation, the presumptious, the figure of presupposall
Etymology Gk. "anticipation"
Type Trope
Linguistic Domain Semantic

1. Refuting anticipated objections. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Procatalepsis is a forme of speech by which the Orator perceiving aforehand what might be objected against him, and hurt him, doth confute it before it be spoken, or thus: when the Orator putteth forth the same objection against himselfe, which he doth thinke his adversarie would, and then refelleth it by a reason, whereby he doth providently prevent him. Cicero: as if some Judge or commiissioner might say unto me, thou mightest have contended with a lighter action, thou mightest have come to thy right by a more easie and profitable way: wherefore either change thine action, or resist me not as Judge: or if he do prescribe after what sort I ought to sue for my right, to which objection he maketh this answere. Notwithstanding he seemeth either more fearfull then is reason a Judge should be: or else he dareth not judge that which is committed to him. Likewise against Verres, Cicero saith, that he knoweth some men will marvell, seeing so many yeares he defended many, and hurt none, he doth now come to accuse Verres, then he doth shew them that this accusation against Verres is a defence of their fellowes. (Peacham)

3. Prolepsis, or Procatalepsis, is the presupposing of the adversary's arguments, and the refuting of them beforehand. (Macbeth)


1. IT is again objected as a very absurd ridiculous Custom, that a Set of Men should be suffered, much less employed and hired, to bawl one Day in Seven against the Lawfulness of those Methods most in use towards the Pursuit of Greatness, Riches and Pleasure, which are the constant Practice of all Men alive on the other Six. But this Objection is I think, a little unworthy so refined an Age as ours. Let us argue this Matter calmly; I appeal to the Breast of any polite Free Thinker, whether in the Pursuit of gratifying a predominant Passion, he hath not always felt a wonderful Incitement, by reflecting it was a Thing forbidden; And therefore we see, in order to cultivate this Taste, the Wisdom of the Nation hath taken special Care, that the Ladies should be furnished with Prohibited Silks, and the Men with Prohibited Wine; And indeed it were to be wisht, that some other Prohibitions were promoted, in order to improve the Pleasures of the Town, which for want of such Expedients begin already, as I am told, to flag and grow languid, giving way daily to cruel Inroads from the Spleen.
—Jonathan Swift, "Argument Against Abolishing Christianity" (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. An example of Paul: “Thou wilt say then unto me, why then blameth he us yet? for who hath been able to resist his wil? But O man who art thou which disputest with God? shall the pot say to the potter, why madest thou me on this fashion?” Rom.9. (Peacham)

2. Another: “Some man will say, how arise the dead? with what bodies shall they come? thou foole, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die.” 1.Cor.15. (Peacham)

Kind Of Opposition
Part Of
Related Figures figures of refutation, figures of amplification, prolepsis, in utrumque partes
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Samantha Price
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No