Ironical understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary (e.g., you won’t be sorry, meaning you’ll be glad).
More example sentences
- Yet this definition fails to explain instances of litotes, or understatement, which is often classified as a kind of irony.
- First one must register his anti-Idealism, his antipathy toward the idea becoming metonymical litotes for such.
- But, if we follow Schwarzbach, Dickens's description of the street mire in Holborn is, if anything, understated - ‘mud’ is not hyperbole, but litotes.
late 16th century: via late Latin from Greek litotēs, from litos 'plain, meager'.
Definition of litotes in:
- The British & World English dictionary