Now, THAT’S a litotes!: TAE Word for the Day


Richard Armitage is really not a bad actor. RA isn’t an unattractive fellow. Guy is not an undesirable male.

All of the above are examples of litotes.

Litotes (LAHY-tuh-tees, li-TUH-tees, lahy-TOE-tees) (noun): understatement, especially that in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary, as in “not bad at all.”  Origin: 1650-1660. From the Greek meaning “plainness, simplicity.”

It is, perhaps, not strictly speaking a litotes, but I find myself also thinking of a quote from, I believe, someone commenting at one of Vicki Frost’s Spooks blog posts: “Richard Armitage is OK eye candy.” OK? Just OK??

For RA, with his Entire Body of Temptation, with those mesmerizing eyes, that amazing smile, that stunning bone structure–is Grade A Number One First Class Eye Candy. And sooooo much more.  A fine, dedicated, detailed actor and an intelligent, charismatic, kind, lovely human being. To say he’s not a bad-looking guy or not a bad actor would be, well– nothing less than litotes, n’est-ce pas?

12 responses »

  1. “litotes” sounds like a way to “damn with faint praise.” When it comes to Richard, I’m afraid that my response is much more along the lines of “Wow” in every respect.

  2. How do you ever come up with these words, Angie? I pride myself on my large vocabulary, yet most of them I’ve never heard of. Do you read dictionaries and thesauruses? Today’s word brings to mind the very frequently used French expression, “pas mal” which literally means “not bad,” but by extension usually means “quite good,” or “a whole lot.”

    Regarding RA, I remember another of your expressions which sounds French, “ne plus ultra.”. This one really does fit, although I can just see him squirming and denying if he were to read this. The more I see him, come to know and appreciate his qualities, find out about him, the more he becomes NE PLUS ULTRA.. I find myself comparing others in my mind to the standard he sets, and liking them more when I find even a small resemblance. Thus, seeing, knowing RA, even if only virtually as a fan, has deepened my good feelings for others. It’s the armitage effect!

    • I subscribe to two sites, Dictionary. com and and they send me daily emails. 😀 But I was the kind of kid who poured over dictionaries and World Book Encyclopedias (remember those before the era of Google??) and loved the “It Pays to Increase Your Word Power” feature in Reader’s Digest. One of my English teachers in high school also used it to help boost our vocabs. I love words!!!!

      And I agree that ne plus ultra was a perfect one for our Richard, who simply becomes more and more amazing in my eyes as time passes. Every time I think I couldn’t like or admire him more or find him more physically attractive—I do. The Armitage Effect–that would be a catchy name for a blog!! 😉

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