It's not without precedent

Jeff Jacobs

Senior Member
Pope Benedict wants to retire and make Pope Francis as pope:

Pope Francis: Popes can't resign!
Pope Benedict: It's not without precedent.

What is the meaning of "not without"?
Sounds like double negative to me.

Source: The Two Popes (2019)
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    As you probably know, two negatives should normally make a positive in standard English. Here it doesn't just mean that there were precedents; it suggests that there were just a very small number of precedents.