litotes


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li·to·tes

 (lī′tə-tēz′, lĭt′ə-, lī-tō′tēz)
n. pl. litotes
A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite, as in This is no small problem.

[Greek lītotēs, from lītos, plain; see lei- in Indo-European roots.]

litotes

(ˈlaɪtəʊˌtiːz)
n, pl -tes
(Rhetoric) understatement for rhetorical effect, esp when achieved by using negation with a term in place of using an antonym of that term, as in "She was not a little upset" for "She was extremely upset".
[C17: from Greek, from litos small]

li•to•tes

(ˈlaɪ təˌtiz, ˈlɪt ə-, laɪˈtoʊ tiz)

n., pl. -tes.
understatement, esp. that in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary, as in “not bad at all.” Compare hyperbole.
[1650–60; < New Latin < Greek lītótēs orig., plainness, simplicity, derivative of lītós plain, meager]

litotes

- From Greek litos, "simple, single," it refers to an ironical understatement (e.g. no small amount) or two negatives used to make a positive (e.g. it was not unsuccessful); it is pronounced lie-TOH-teez, LEYED-uh-teez, LID-uh-teez, or leye-TOHD-eez.
See also related terms for positive.

litotes

an understatement, especially one in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of the contrary, as in “it’s not unpleasant.”
See also: Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices

litotes

1. Deliberate understatement or negation of the contrary in order to achieve an effect, such as in “not a little tired” instead of “very tired.”
2. Assertion of a positive by denying its negative, often in the form of a deliberate understatement for effect.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.litotes - understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary); "saying `I was not a little upset' when you mean `I was very upset' is an example of litotes"
understatement - a statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said
rhetorical device - a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance)
Translations
References in periodicals archive ?
LECTURING in law is not the most lucrative occupation (would that constitute an example of litotes, I wonder) but one small perquisite, as yet still untaxed, is having a very interesting mix of colleagues.
Euphemism: A combination of litotes and hyperbole used at the same time to simplify and exemplify meaning, and
18) Though the appearance of oft (as opposed to a 'always') in this proverb may seem to suggest that wyrd may sometimes behave in other ways, it is worth noting that oft can provide "the temporal generalization required by proverbs, especially if 'oft' is read as litotes for 'always'" (Deskis 2013: 675).
Tous ces leitmotivs grossierement mis en relief sont traites, a travers des metaphores et litotes savamment et habilement mis sur scene, par l'intermediaire des artistes de talent.
The ruined poem asks us to remember the lost whole, and by the end of the poem, despite all the prosy language--those etcs, the litotes ('my tidier lines'), the cliches ('the point is'), and all that humble conversationalism--we still know nothing about how the poem got written; it remains a secret, a message in a bottle carefully addressed to no one.
When Jonathan Swift sardonically wrote, "Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her appearance," be was taking advantage of the power of litotes, a deliberate understatement that helps make a point.
The modesty in order to produce a certain acceptation and friends, but figured as having a boomerang effect (a litotes for him a hyperbole for others and, in fact, hyperbole for him), and the choice to sacrifice, making the kitchen of exile, because this side was one of niche.
She also employs litotes in the phrase "only genius, wit, and taste"--which, following the multiple clauses and phrases describing abridgers (of which Austen herself was one) and anthologizers, is all the more noticeable for its brevity.
2) Oppen and Gluck poeticize prayer under the sign of litotes, or understatement, and Wright does so, like Hopkins, with rhetorical opulence; if their poems restrain trope and anthropomorphism, his abound with extravagant, almost baroque figurations of landscape, affect, and an absent God; if theirs approximate silent or mental prayer, subduing verbal music, his are written in strongly cadenced lines rich with sonic patterning.