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Houghton Mifflin

li·to·tes  audio  (lt-tz, lt-, l-ttz) KEY 

NOUN:
pl. litotes
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.

ETYMOLOGY:
Greek ltots, from ltos, plain; see lei- in Indo-European roots


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