Category Archives: litotes

Litotes

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 your adulation—what I did isn’t really worthy of praise, or “kudos” as the Grecians say. The baby chick had been separated from its mother by the tornado that blew across our farm. It turned my tractor upside down, tore the roof off of my house and carried the baby chick up into the branches of what was left of our heirloom oak tree. The chick was making a constant cheeping sound. It was driving me crazy. I had to get the chick out of the tree. I tried throwing a tennis ball at him, but he cheeped louder every time I threw it at him. I tried a water hose, but when the water stream hit him, he just dug in his chicken claws and cheeped even louder. As I headed inside to get my shotgun, I got an idea. I could reverse my vacuum cleaner so it would blow instead of suck. I could load it with corn and spray it at at the chick! Surely, he would gobble it up and come down from the tree for more. It didn’t work. When the corn hit him, he cheeped even louder. So, I got my shotgun, loaded it and was ready to fire when my lost dog came running across the yard. He jumped up on me and the gun went off. I was prepared to see a mutilated chick hanging from the branch. Then I heard cheeping about 10 feet away on the ground. It was the unharmed chick. The dog had made me miss the chick, but I had hit the branch it was perching on and blown it off the tree.

Soon that chick will be big enough to eat. Thanks to my dog, we’ll have a nice chicken dinner.


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

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Litotes

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).

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. A Kindle edition is available for $5.99.

Litotes

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” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. A Kindle edition is available for $5.99.

Litotes

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’m not he funniest person in the world, and I haven’t earned millions in Las Vegas. But, I can make you laugh so hard you’ll wet your pants. Are you ready?

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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. A Kindle edition is available for $5.99.

Litotes

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’m not the most successful person you’ll ever know, and I haven’t travelled to every country in the world. But, let me tell you, I’ve accomplished enough and seen enough to know that I can lead this nation, and with your help, make it great again!

Make America Great Again!

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

Litotes

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).

E: New Jersey.

A: Bigger than a breadbasket.

E: Governor Christie.

A: Bigger than a breadbasket.

E: Is there anything smaller than a breadbasket?

A: My parking space in Hoboken.

E: What about Fort Lee?

A: Bigger than a toll booth.

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

Litotes

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)

Litotes

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).

His campaign promises are not unbelievable.

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

Litotes

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).

When I saved the company from financial disaster, I was only doing my job.

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

Litotes

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).

Finding your kitten was no big deal, and driving 20 miles out of my way to bring him home to you was the least I could do.  I can’t imagine you offering me a reward!

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