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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

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
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
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)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Translations

litotes

nLitotes f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in periodicals archive ?
El antimilitarismo, las simpatias republicanas, el laicismo anticlerical, son el resultado moral de estas historias de infancia, nunca proclamado en voz alta, siempre atenuado a traves de breves pinceladas que operan como litotes, como si el escritor desconfiara de las afirmaciones enfaticas.
The gruesome sexual assault affixes the poet's gaze, and his response is constructed with contrasting hyperbole and litotes: "I grasped with sudden shock a scene less pure." (16) The violence depicted here reinforces the death imagery outside the chapel; by undermining the sacrament of holy matrimony depicted in the triptych, the sexual violence also contributes to our perception of spiritual emptiness; and finally the scene reinforces for the reader the elegiac sense of loss and decay.
Sentiments and litotes have plunged us deeper into the bottomless chasm and it is time to awaken.
His Introduction and first chapter serve rather to establish, poetically, a constellation of key terms or motifs that will reappear, with variations, throughout his study: habitus, human right, terra incognita, homelessness, stranger, savage, litotes, sacrifice.
"Denying the Contrary: More's Use of Litotes in the Utopia." Moreana 31-32:106-121.
Adcock's use of litotes draws attention to the complexity in immediately accessing truth.
The religious rhetoric is paired, yet again as is the case in Fallet's novel, with wishing ill upon the concierge--in this instance via litotes presented by the narrative agent: "Je ne veux aucun mal aux concierges, comme je ne veux aucun mal a la scarlatine, a l'impot ou tout simplement la mort" (35).
The multiple negations in stanza 1 reveal the difficulty of not yielding to dejection--a form of resistance that entails the performance of a decisive act of will (notice the strength of the litotes "not choose not to be"; 1.
Using words like epizeuxis, chiasmus and litotes, Farnsworth demonstrates in detail what can be done with major rhetorical figures (speech patterns), looks at the best of what has been done with them in English, presents the occasions for their use in systematic fashion, and offers explanatory comments.