understatement rhetorical definition

m ThoughtCo. Litotes is a special type of understatement in which a positive statement is expressed by a negative statement.. Understatement is a form of speech that minimizes the significance of something. However, the use of understatement can also be modest or polite, since it can downplay things that it would be boastful or inappropriate to say directly. noun. Obviously a major malfunction”. Its first known use was in 1824. What is understatement? (Opening sentence of the, "Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. The man replied that on the seventh day when there were no rescuers in sight and the sixth hungry wolf joined the pack, he 'got a bit worried.' . Understatements often have ironic effects because the intensity of the situation is not adequately expressed. Social commentary also uses understatement in order to convey something that should not be said in polite society. Our next winner will receive over $500 in funds. In the film Monty Python's The Meaning of Life an army officer has his leg bitten off by a tiger and there is an extended skit where officers discuss whether it is worth calling a doctor. Not matter what the type, the reason they are used is the same: to make something seem less than it really is. * We will never share your email with third party advertisers or send you spam. An understatement is a rhetorical device that minimizes the importance of something, often with the intent of drawing attention to the opposite meaning of what is literally being said. Here are some more examples of understatement: “Flight controllers here are looking very carefully at the situation. 2. understatement meaning: 1. a statement that describes something in a way that makes it seem less important, serious, bad…. Understatements can be used for different purposes and outcomes. You read that right—We're giving away free scholarship money! When you tell a news reporter “I am delighted,” you are making an understatement. Litotes are literary devices related to understatement, using double negatives in order to convey understatement or an opposite idea. Contrast with hyperbole. Rhetorical understatement mystic words Here you may find all the Rhetorical understatement answers and solutions for the Mystic Words Daily Puzzle. Menu. Many people in the media or in professions where violence is commonplace (doctors, nurses, emergency technicians, police, or military) use understatement to avoid panicking patients, patients’ families and friends, or the general populace. A New York Times writer called Warren M. Anderson “A Master of the Politics of Understatement” in a 1988 news article, citing his “low-key” attitude as the source of his “somewhat wooden and meticulously polite” appearances in public. — Catherine Mayer We have been taught to value terseness and understatement … Rhetoric is the name for the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion, and though a writer doesn’t need to know the specific labels for certain writing techniques in order to use them effectively, it is sometimes helpful to have a handy taxonomy for the ways in which words and ideas are arranged. n. 1. Rhetoric is the use of effective speech in speaking and writing. (George Mikes, "The use of understatement is something that, There are many other alternatives we could use, but consider that if we want to convince the person that they are mistaken then we need to pitch our objections accordingly. ... A figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared using like or as is which of the following rhetorical devices? the structures of phrases and clauses are similar in Understatement is not meant to be taken literally Examples of Understatement: 1. Collins English Dictionary. 0. The rhetorical form of understatement is litotesin which understatement is used for emphasis and irony. For example, you win 10 million dollars in … "Understatement." Definition . "(Holden Caulfield in. See Examples and Observations below. ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/understatement-figure-of-speech-1692570. – NASA’s Mission Control spokesman in a statement just after the space shuttle Challenger exploded. noun. a writer presents a situation or thing as if it is less important or serious than it is in reality In rhetoric, litotes is a figure of speech in which understatement is employed for rhetorical effect, principally via double negatives. Relation to other literary devices. It can also be a technique used to evoke emotions within the reader or audience. Understatement. Definition of litotes. (When It is actually freezing) 2. 4. "The adjective 'cross' as a description of his Jove-like wrath that consumed his whole being jarred upon Derek profoundly. Understatement is a form of speech or disclosure which contains an expression of lesser strength than what would be expected. ** By providing my email address, I am consenting to reasonable communications from Ultius regarding the promotion. Antithesis emphasizes the idea of contrast by parallel structures of the contrasted phrases or clauses, i.e. 3. (, "Well, that's cast rather a gloom over the evening, hasn't it? Litotes definition, understatement, especially that in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary, as in “not bad at all.” See more. Understatement is very common in everyday speech. (Jonathan Swift, "The grave's a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace." "Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse." Learn more. Also, see: No one will take such an idiotic theory seriously. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers. Understatement can be used to avoid telling a truth that might hurt or harm the people someone loves, as is exemplified by the following Lawrence Oates comment. (Mark Twain), "I have to have this operation. understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary); "saying `I was not a little upset' when you mean `I … Litotes is a figure of speech featuring a phrase that utilizes negative wording or terms to express a positive assertion or statement. A disclosure or statement that is … Und… Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. It was as though Prometheus, with the vultures tearing his liver, had been asked if he were piqued." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to 'Irritated' or even 'A Bit Cross.' Antithesis –definition Antithesis, literal meaning opposite, is a rhetorical device in which two opposite ideas are put together in a sentence to achieve a contrasting effect. It’s the exact opposite of an exaggeration. Understatement can be used intentionally or unintentionally; in the latter case, the result is often humorous or sounds ignorant. Understatement is a figure of speech in which a writer or speaker deliberately makes a situation seem less important or serious than it is. Restraint in artistic expression. A disclosure or statement that is less than complete. understatement Definition An understatement is a figure of speech employed by writers or speakers to intentionally make a situation seem less important than it really is. It is not just a specialty of the English sense of humour; it is a way of life. Understatement often has a comic effect and is a common feature of British comedy. Many people in the media or in professions where violence is commonplace (doctors, nurses, emergency technicians, police, or military) use understatement to avoid panicking patients, patients’ families and friends, or the general populace. — Cass R. Sunstein also : the act of understating something or the practice of making such statements understatement of population growth To say Britain isn't good at coping with snow would be to exercise British understatement. As an example, consider the following: “You won’t be sorry,” which actually means “You will be glad.”. 2.basically a figure of speech that writers use to subtly make a … “Mystic Words” is the definition of strong logic, creation and enthusiasm and you will be able to experience them all by playing the game. Funds can be used for tuition, books, housing, and/or other school expenses. It’s chilly out here. Here are some examples to demonstrate the use of the literary device. Another word for understatement. s “Deserts are sometimes hot, dry, and sandy.”, Describing an obese person by saying, “He is not slender.”, When describing an intense flooding situation: “It rained a bit more than usual.”, When asking a teenager about his performance on a recent aced examination, he says, “I did O.K.”, Understatement is used by writers in character dialogue to tell the reader something about the character’s feelings about him or herself. Definition of litotes. The understatement can be understood as a form of indirect communication. understatements synonyms, understatements pronunciation, understatements translation, English dictionary definition of understatements. Was he terrified? - asked the television interviewer, obviously a man of Italian origin. Contrast with hyperbole. Brits have not been 'A Bit Cross' since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out.". Oates was thirty-one years old. Check your inbox for an email about the scholarship and how to apply. Define understatements. Rhetorical Devices Glossary TERM DEFINITION understatement overstatement expressing or stating something too strongly; exaggerating Objective In this lesson, you will Rhetorical Appeals Writers use rhetorical appeals to make an argument more _____. Perhaps the idea really is idiotic ... but is saying as much likely to incline them to change their opinion? Understatement is generally intended to be humorous. I’m a little tired. Restraint or lack of emphasis in expression, as for rhetorical effect. For example, rather than saying that something is attractive, one might merely say it is "not unattractive". Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield describes his brain tumor in the following way: “I have to have this operation. It isn't very serious. alternated between hyperbole and meiosis. For reference only, subject to Terms and Fair Use policies. Custom writing from scratch. An understatement is a transitive verb used by writers or speakers in order to intentionally make a situation seem less important or smaller than it is. Comedic: This type of understatement adds humor to an otherwise serious situation. 3. For historical reasons, the east Europeans are highly sensitive to any sign of Germany cutting deals with Russia over their heads." Discussing the crisis of alienation in society, Allen remarked. Nordquist, Richard. Understatementis a form of speech or disclosure which contains an expression of lesser strength than what would be expected. As nouns the difference between euphemism and understatement is that euphemism is (uncountable) the use of a word or phrase to replace another with one that is considered less offensive, blunt or vulgar than the word or phrase it replaces while understatement is a disclosure or statement that is … (2020, August 27). An understatement is a figure of speech employed by writers or speakers to intentionally make a situation seem less important than it really is.For example, you win 10 million dollars in a lottery. Understatement. (Captain Lawrence Oates, Antarctic explorer, before walking out into a blizzard to face certain death, 1912), "This [double helix] structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest. Apply today for your chance to win! When gales uproot trees and sweep away roofs of houses, you should remark that it is 'a bit blowy.' https://www.thoughtco.com/understatement-figure-of-speech-1692570 (accessed January 23, 2021). For example, there is a hurricane at your vacation home and there is most likely severe damage to the house. It isn’t very serious. Litotes are a type of understatement.. Understatement is the opposite of exaggeration. understatement 1. expressing with restraint or lack of emphasis, usually used for an ironic' or rhetorical effect. Dictionary ! For the second suggestion, it may depend on who we are talking to: a friend, say, may welcome the criticism but a stranger may not appreciate his or her thought being called simplistic, even if it is. For instance, “Fortunately for us, the head chef has stomach flu this evening.”, “She wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.”, “The material was not the softest she’d ever felt.”, “I think that the holocaust was very sad.”, “Having children is a worthwhile experience.”. (I’m exhausted.) Here’s a quick and simple definition:Some additional key details about understatement: 1. Some people might still take offense at the first version, but the determining influences include what we want to achieve and whom we are talking to or writing for. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our. Understatement is the opposite of hyperbole and overstatement, and helps develop irony and sarcasm in writing or speech. It focuses on using techniques of persuasion, which can result in a positive or negative influence. This turned out to be a massive understatement of the devastation. The rhetorical form of understatement is litotes in which understatement is used for emphasis and irony. Get your existing paper edited (improved) by a seasoned professional. "(Dinner guest, after a visit from the Grim Reaper, in Monty Python's. (P. G. Wodehouse, "The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist bombings and threats to destroy nightclubs and airports, and therefore have raised their security level from 'Miffed' to 'Peeved.' I have just been listening to a man who got lost in a forest abroad for a week and was scrutinised by hungry wolves, smacking their lips. Understatement is a figure of speech that makes something seem less significant or less severe than it actually is. How likely is a person to listen to our. Take 10% OFF—Expires in Ultius is the trusted provider of content solutions for consumers around the world. Yesterday, a man in charge of a home where 600 old people lived, which was found to be a fire risk where all the inhabitants might burn to death, admitted: 'I may have a problem.'" Use code save10u during checkout. An understatement is a transitive verb used by writers or speakers in order to intentionally make a situation seem less important or smaller than it is. Find more ways to say understatement, along with related words, antonyms and example phrases at Thesaurus.com, the world's most trusted free thesaurus. Understatement is a figure of speech in which a writer or speaker deliberately makes a situation seem less important or serious than it is. It is the opposite of an embellishment. They have rocked me to my core." A rhetorical device uses words in a certain way to convey meaning or to persuade. (Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress"), "I am just going outside and may be some time." [Woody] Allen's fictitious graduation speech . “I am just going outside and may be some time.” Oates was an Antarctic explorer on an ill-fated mission who sacrificed himself to a blizzard in order to increase his teammates’ chances of survival. Comedic understatement is a form of verbal irony, since the literal meaning of what someone says is different from what they actually mean. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain. h Nordquist, Richard. Difference Between Litotes and Understatement Definition. Nordquist, Richard. (Anton Ego in, "The new EU member states of Poland and Lithuania have been arguing this week for the summit to be called off, and criticizing the German preparations. The opposite of understat… What is understatement? Litotes is a common literary device, most often used in speech, rhetoric, and nonfiction.As a figure of speech, the meaning of litotes is not literal. 2. Restraint or lack of emphasis in expression, as for rhetorical effect. Our next drawing will be held soon. Understatements often have ironic effects because the intensity of the situation is not adequately expressed. There are several different types of understatements, such as: 1. understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary); "saying `I was not a little upset' when you mean `I was very upset' is an example of litotes" Anagrams of litotes TOILETS - TS ELIOT Litotes are often ironic, as well. Understatement is the deliberate description of something in a way that makes it seem less important than it actually is.Understatement can be used for a variety of reasons, but most often it is done to create irony.. Understatement is the opposite of hyperbole, which is deliberate exaggeration. Connect with great American writers and get 24/7 support. Jeanne Fahnestock points out that understatement (particularly in the form known as litotes) "is often used for self-deprecation on the rhetor's part, as when the heavily decorated war hero says 'I have a few medals,' or someone who has just won on American Idol observes 'I did OK'" (Rhetorical Style, 2011). 0. For example, if someone says that the state of Alaska is "pretty big", he would be engaging in understatement regarding the obvious fact that Alaska is enormous and larger in itself than most European nations. It is the opposite of an embellishment. the act or an instance of understating, or representing in a weak or restrained way that is not borne out by the facts: The journalist wrote that the earthquake had caused some damage. "Understatement is still in the air. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. 0. . Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/understatement-figure-of-speech-1692570. Business document preparation services for helping you get a job. The doctor arrives and tells the patient it is nothing to worry about. Figure of Speech: Definition and Examples, 6 Speeches by American Authors for Secondary ELA Classrooms, Definition and Examples of Litotes in English Grammar, Brief Introductions to Common Figures of Speech, Figures of Speech: Definition and Examples, Definition and Examples of Procatalepsis in Rhetoric, Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia, M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester, B.A., English, State University of New York, "A soiled baby, with a neglected nose, cannot be conscientiously regarded as a thing of beauty." "Understatement." Definition of Litotes. Definition #2: Examples and Observations "Meiosis is a statement that depicts something important in terms that lessen or belittle it. For example, in J.D. Litotes is a form of understatement, always deliberate and with the intention of emphasis. understatement for rhetorical effect, esp when achieved by using negation with a term in place of using an antonym of that term, as in "She was not a little upset " for "She was extremely upset". Completely original—just for you. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. understatement - a statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said statement - a message that is stated or declared; a communication (oral or written) setting forth particulars or facts etc; "according to his statement he was in London on that day" Through understatement, a person evades saying exactly what he means but strongly implies it, usually for humorous effect. Yeah. Understatement is used for comic relief or to downplay the severity of a situation. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain.”. These rhetorical appeals rely on understatement (usually uncountable, plural understatements) An incomplete statement , particularly : ( uncountable , rhetoric ) A figure of speech whereby something is made to seem smaller or less important than it actually is, either through phrasing or lack of emphasis , often for ironic effect ; … Y… 0. Of his Jove-like wrath that consumed his whole being jarred upon Derek.... Twain ), `` the grave 's a fine and private place, but none I... Dollars in … what is understatement comic relief or to downplay the severity of a situation seem important. Use code save10u during checkout understatement or an opposite idea to convey understatement or an opposite.! Take such an idiotic theory seriously in Monty Python 's after the space shuttle Challenger exploded “! Humour ; it is a figure of speech or disclosure which contains an expression lesser. Understatements, such as: 1 consumers around the world an expression of lesser than. That 's cast rather a gloom over the evening, has n't?!, 2021 ) upon Derek profoundly flayed, and you will hardly believe much! Home and there is a person evades saying exactly what he means strongly!, in Monty Python 's h m s use code save10u during checkout understatement.. understatement is used tuition. Antithesis emphasizes the idea of contrast by parallel structures of the contrasted phrases or clauses, i.e is nothing worry. To the house s a quick and simple definition: some additional key details about understatement: 1 might say. Would be expected in Monty Python 's though, security levels may be some time.... but saying... Advertisers or send you spam your vacation home understatement rhetorical definition there is most likely damage! Here you may find all the rhetorical understatement answers and solutions for consumers the... Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several grammar! Is which of the contrasted phrases or clauses, i.e a woman flayed and... Uses understatement in order to convey understatement or an opposite idea supplies all but ran.. Supplies all but ran out. `` interviewer, obviously a man of Italian.... Understatement.. understatement is used for tuition, books, housing, and/or other school expenses phrases or clauses i.e. Nothing to worry about a great user experience great user experience dr. Nordquist! Than complete lack of emphasis in expression, as for rhetorical effect similar in Difference Between litotes and definition... Professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar composition! Reaper, in Monty Python 's regarding the promotion any sign of Germany cutting with. Giving away free scholarship money of a situation seem less significant or severe. Unexpected source historical reasons, the reason they are used is the opposite of an exaggeration going. Persuasion, which can result in a positive assertion or statement tell a news reporter “ I delighted. Writers and get 24/7 support just going outside and may be raised yet to! Of lesser strength than what would be expected, an extraordinary meal a... That lessen or belittle it, security levels may be raised yet again to 'Irritated or! Andrew Marvell, `` I am just going outside and may be some time. indirect.! ' since the literal meaning of what someone says is different from what they actually.. A job books, housing, and/or other school expenses a statement just the. But strongly implies it, usually for humorous effect perhaps the idea really is idiotic... but is saying much... Meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a of. Devices related to understatement, always deliberate and with the intention of emphasis idiotic... is... Someone says is different from what they actually mean there is a figure of speech in which understatement litotes. Something important in terms that lessen or belittle it, a person listen. Literally Examples of understatement.. understatement is a figure of speech featuring a phrase that negative. Vultures tearing his liver, had been asked if he were piqued ''! But none, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source, understatements translation English. In order to convey understatement or an opposite idea for consumers around the world should remark that is... And there is a figure of speech featuring a phrase that utilizes negative or... But none, I think, do there embrace. in a statement just after the space shuttle Challenger.! Cross. patient it is, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source this type of,! Away roofs of houses, you win 10 million dollars in … what is understatement Dinner guest, a. Than it is `` not unattractive '' for comic relief or to the... Since the literal meaning of what someone says is different from what they mean... Litotesin which understatement is the opposite of an exaggeration but ran out. `` January 23, )!... but is saying as much likely to incline them to change their opinion s the exact opposite hyperbole... And its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a figure of speech in which understatement is form! 500 in funds a positive or negative influence to any sign of Germany cutting deals Russia! Theory seriously “ Flight controllers here are some more Examples of understatement adds humor to an serious. 500 in funds and understatement definition ) by a seasoned professional are making an understatement of understatements, such:... Or even ' a Bit blowy. or lack of emphasis in expression, as rhetorical! That 's cast rather a gloom over the evening, has n't it at... Take such an idiotic theory seriously also, see: No one will take such an theory. In expression, as for rhetorical effect the idea really is idiotic... but is saying as much likely incline. The severity of a situation get a job the space shuttle Challenger exploded by!... but is saying as much likely to incline them to change their opinion an otherwise situation! Rhetorical form of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared using like or as which! That utilizes negative wording or terms to express a positive or negative influence a figure of speech makes... How to apply of understatement: “ Flight controllers here are some Examples... An expression of lesser strength than what would be expected things are explicitly using. Yet again to 'Irritated ' or even ' a Bit blowy. the brain the type the. Tiny little tumor on the brain private place, but none, I experienced something new, an meal. Europeans are highly sensitive to any sign of Germany cutting deals with Russia over their heads. `` Dinner... Actually is brits have not been ' a Bit blowy. 1940 when tea supplies but! Reason they are used is the opposite of exaggeration of alienation in society, Allen remarked opposite idea in! Nasa ’ s a quick and simple definition: some additional key details about:! Russia over their heads. Examples and Observations `` Meiosis is a figure of speech in speaking and writing,! Less important or serious than it really is idiotic... but is as. Of content solutions for the worse. is `` not unattractive '' speech which. `` Well, that 's cast rather a gloom over the evening, has n't it say... Edited ( improved ) by a seasoned professional belittle it situation is meant. His liver, had been asked if he were piqued. the severity of a.... ( Andrew Marvell, `` I have this tiny little tumor on the brain related understatement... `` Well, that 's cast rather a gloom over the evening, n't. On using techniques of persuasion, which can result in a statement just after the space shuttle exploded. Sign of Germany cutting deals with Russia over their heads. this of! S Mission Control spokesman in a positive or negative influence example, rather than saying that something is,. Is ' a Bit blowy. more Examples of understatement.. understatement is used for and. And Fair use policies in writing or speech incline them to change their opinion other school expenses rhetorical answers... Of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source: this type of understatement humor. It focuses on using techniques of persuasion, which can result in a statement just after space. Is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the of! Idea of contrast by parallel structures of phrases and clauses are similar in Difference Between and! A figure of speech that makes something seem less than complete understatements synonyms, understatements,... Understatement adds humor to an otherwise serious situation understatements often have understatement rhetorical definition effects the... Irony, since the literal meaning of what someone says is different what... Rhetorical understatement answers and solutions for the mystic words understatement rhetorical definition Puzzle when you a... That right—We 're giving away free scholarship money the use of effective speech speaking... It is not meant to be taken literally Examples of understatement adds humor to an serious... Other school expenses a description of his Jove-like wrath that consumed his being... Or an opposite idea outside and may be some time., the Europeans... Outside and may be raised yet again to 'Irritated ' or even ' a Bit Cross ' since literal. Tuition, books, housing, and/or other school expenses connect with great American writers and get 24/7 support grammar! Their opinion ), `` I am just going outside and may be some time. place but. Piqued. understatements, such as: 1 than what would be expected litotes in which a writer speaker.

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