Daily Archives: December 19, 2012


Litotes (li-to’-tees): Deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite. The Ad Herennium author suggests litotes as a means of expressing modesty (downplaying one’s accomplishments) in order to gain the audience’s favor (establishing ethos).

Sure, I climbed Mt. Everest barefoot, but it’s nothing to get excited about.  After all, I was only 82 years old when I did it!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)