I came across a new word, ‘litotes’, in a Guardian forum. Not an unpleasant sounding word (ha ha!), and worth examination.
Wikipedia tells me ‘it’s a figure of speech wherein understatement is used to emphasize a point by stating a negative to further affirm a positive, often incorporating double negatives for effect’.
Examples of litotes:
- He’s no oil painting
- She’s not as young as she was
- He’s not unlike his dad
- You’re not doing badly
- This is not the best coffee I’ve had
Finally, litotes is both singular and plural. Now, I’m not as dumb as I was.