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).

Oh no, this isn’t best gift I ever got, it’s the greatest gift I ever got! A combination rain poncho and solar panel is what we all should have. Keep dry! Save the planet! I won’t be the envy of all our friends, or anything like that. Nah. Never happen. Ha ha!

I don’t know what I did to deserve this. Never missing a day of work in 25 years is nothing compared to this. Thank-you so much.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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