litotes


li·to·tes

noun \ˈlī-tə-ˌtēz, ˈli-, lī-ˈtō-ˌtēz\
plural litotes

Definition of LITOTES

:  understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of the contrary (as in not a bad singer or not unhappy)

Origin of LITOTES

Greek litotēs, from litos simple, perhaps from lit-, lis linen cloth
First Known Use: 1589

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

ablaut, allusion, anacoluthon, diacritic, gerund, idiom, infinitive, metaphor, semiotics, simile

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: lit–par–lit
Previous Word in the Dictionary: Litorinidae
All Words Near: litotes

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up litotes? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).