Wednesday, November 17, 2004

New Word: litotes

litotes (pronunciation: LIT-tuh-teez)

Dictionary.com:
n. pl litotes

A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite, as in This is no small problem.


Make a sentence:
My lecturer has not a meager liking for the use of litotes, and his habit seems to have rubbed off on me in no insignificant way.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool word :) Here's a real life example of a litotes:

Girl: Does this pair of jeans make my butt look fat?

Boy: Urrh.. it sure doesn't make it look tiny...

9:33 PM  
Blogger Bubblemunche said...

Cheem! It's sure not easy to understanding this post ;)

8:29 AM  
Blogger calm one said...

Anon: Nice one there. Litotes are often used in an attempt to be politically correct or to avoid censure, as in your example. Btw, it's supposed to be "an example of litotes" =)

Bubble: Eh... blame it on dictionary.com =) Try constructing a sentence yourself - it's good for remembering new words =)

9:20 AM  
Blogger FF said...

My attempt at a sentence with litotes in it:

The Calm One taught us a new word today but I still cannot comprehend what litotes means.

10:23 AM  
Blogger calm one said...

FF: Heh... that reminds me of how I used to constuct sentences for Chinese phrases in sec school =)

Yeah I think the dictionary.com meaning is abit cheem and indirect, mostly because litotes are meant to be indirect. Here are some examples:

1.(no litotes): She is fat.
(using litotes): She is not exactly slim.

2.(no litotes): I want him dead.
(using litotes): I don't want to see him alive.

3.(no litotes): She is fugly.
(using litotes): She is not a little ugly.

4.(no litotes): I hate him.
(using litotes): I have no love for him.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Yuki said...

haix, i could use this in my english compo the next time (If i figure the meaning of it that is...)

12:44 PM  
Blogger calm one said...

Yuki: I'm sure your teacher will be impressed. Or even worried that the students are getting too good these days =)

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usage of no small amount of such understating phrases would lead to your being held in no high regard among your peers for the perceived inexcessive assertiveness on your part.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Reeben said...

Here is another one ... although a bit long,makes the meaning clearer ;) (i hope...)


"The use of litotes to describe the team’s pathetic performance at the football finals by the chief coach by saying “They did not play very well today” was met with objugations from the fans who insisted that the coach do not mince words in describing one of the most abysmally disappointing performances by the team in the last two decades"

2:59 PM  

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