Understatement for effect, esp. such understatement in which something is expressed by a negation of the contrary (Ex.: not a few regrets)
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.
Origin of litotes
- Greek lītotēs from lītos plain lei- in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Ancient Greek Î»Î¹Ï„ÏŒÏ„Î·Ï‚ (litotÄ“s), from Î»Î¹Ï„ÏŒÏ‚ (litos, “simple").