Term: Litotes

Definition:

Litotes is a kind of understatement, where the speaker or writer uses a negative of a word ironically, to mean the opposite. Litotes is to be found in English literature right back to Anglo-Saxon times.

EG: She's not the friendliest person I know. (= she's an unfriendly person)


 

See Also: Hyperbole; Sarcasm; Slang; Jargon; Tautology; Rhetorical Question; Cliche; Allegory

Category: Figure of Speech