Re: needed: antonym for hyperbole

Subject: Re: needed: antonym for hyperbole
From: DAVID IBBETSON <ibbetson -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 1996 02:25:31 -0400

Karen Otto writes:
> We're looking for an antyonym for hyperbole

> Any ideas?

meiosis. In rhetoric, a kind of understatement that dismisses or belittles,
especially by using terms that make something seem less significant than it
really is or ought to be: for example, calling a serious wound a _scratch_,
or a journalist a _hack_ or a _scribbler_.

litotes. In rhetoric a positive and often emphatic statement made by denying
something negative, as when St. Paul called himself 'a citizen of no mean
cuty' (Acts 21: 39). Comon phrases involving litotes include _in no small
measure_ and _by no means negligible_.

Definitions from The Oxford Companion to English Literature.

I suspect Karen wants "meiosis", but I'm not sure.

As always, "Will the audience know the word?"


David Ibbetson, Ontario, Canada ibbetson -at- idirect -dot- com

When a rich man is fallen, he hath many helpers: he speaketh things not to
be spoken, and yet men justify him: the poor man slipped, and yet they
rebuked him too; he spake wisely, and could have no place --- Ecclesiasticus
XIV, xxii
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