Figure Name tapinosis
Source Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); Bullinger (1898) ("tapeinosis; or, demeaning")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms apeinosis, antenantiosis, humiliatio, abbaser, a demeaning, tapinosis, tapeinosis
Etymology Antenantiosis from 'anti' meaning over against, or instead of, and 'enantios' meaning opposite.
Type Trope
Linguistic Domain Semantic

Rhetfig: Using as term for an entity that suggests a lesser scope or state. The term may infer positive or negative qualities.

1. Reference to something with a name disproportionately lesser than its nature (a kind of litotes). (Silva Rhetoricae)

1. Giving a name to something which diminishes it in importance. A kind of meiosis. This term is equivalent to meiosis. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. This differs from Meiosis in that in Meiosis one thing is diminished in order, by contrast, to increase the greatness of another, or something else. Whereas, in Tapeinosis the thing that is lessened is the same thing which is increased and intensified... The figure is used in connection with nouns, verbs, and adverbs,
1. Positively.
2. Negatively.
(Bullinger, 169)


1. Said of the Mississippi River: "a stream"

1. Said of an amputated leg.: "It's just a flesh wound"
—Monty Python and the Holy Grail

2. [Positively:] "Tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury urn away." -Gen. 17:44 We learn from 29:20 that the love which he bore to Rachel is emphasized by speaking of the seven years in which he served for her as "a few days."

2. [Negatively:] They "offered strange fire before the LORD, which he had commanded them not." -Lev. 10:1 Here, the figure is translated. The Heb. is literally, "which the Lord had not commanded them," i.s. He had very solemnly prohibited it... (Bullinger, 171)

Kind Of Opposition
Part Of litotes
Related Figures irony, litotes, auxesis, hyperbole, charientismus
Notes Related Topic of Invention: Degree Meiosis does not work as a figure unless one senses the degree of difference between the label and the thing it labels. It is thus related to this kind of comparative strategy.
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Robert Clapperton
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes Allen, don't include commas at the end of the list of synonyms or related figures.
Reviewed No