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).
I don’t deserve these socks! It’s not like it’s my retirement dinner! Ha ha! 25 years of towing the line isn’t enough for these genuine wool gems. Get the pun—towing? And they are emblazoned with the company logo. It’s too much! “Mel’s Lawnmower Repair” was my life. Now that I’m retiring with no pension or benefits, it could be the end of my life. Ha ha!
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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