litotes

[ lahy-tuh-teez, lit-uh-, lahy-toh-teez ]
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noun,plural li·to·tes.Rhetoric.
  1. understatement, especially that in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary, as in “not bad at all.”

Origin of litotes

1
First recorded in 1650–60; from New Latin, from Greek lītótēs “plainness, simplicity, understatement (in rhetoric),” derivative of lītós “smooth, plain, simple”

Words Nearby litotes

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British Dictionary definitions for litotes

litotes

/ (ˈlaɪtəʊˌtiːz) /


nounplural -tes
  1. 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."

Origin of litotes

1
C17: from Greek, from litos small

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