Try Our Apps


Word of the Day
Thursday, October 11, 2012

Definitions for litotes

  1. Understatement, especially that in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary, as in “not bad at all.”

Learn something
new every day


Thank youfor signing up
Get the Word of the Day Email
Citations for litotes
Stevens does not allow himself much of the Sublime here, yet it creeps in by negation in the litotes or understatement of the stanza's close. Harold Bloom, Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate
I know it's a textbook example of what lit-crit geeks like to call litotes, a figure of speech in which an affirmative is expressed through the negation of its opposite… Mark Dery, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts
Origin of litotes
Litotes comes from the Greek word lītótēs which meant "plainness, simplicity."