un·​der·​state | \ ˌən-dər-ˈstāt How to pronounce understate (audio) \
understated; understating; understates

Definition of understate

transitive verb

1 : to represent as less than is the case understate taxable income
2 : to state or present with restraint especially for effect

Examples of understate in a Sentence

He understated his taxable income. She's trying to understate the issue.

Recent Examples on the Web

The media has raised alarm about these findings — so much so that other experts worry that the media is overstating the absolute risk of developing C.T.E. and understating the substantial health benefits that team sports, including football, offer. Kim Tingley, New York Times, "Do Brain Injuries Affect Women Differently?," 26 June 2019 Magid has made a film that’s cool, assured, and understated. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "Making an architectural offer that can’t be refused — or can it? — in ‘The Proposal’," 26 June 2019 But Curry’s central role in the victory, and in leading Golden State to a 6-1 record since Durant was lost to injury, must not be overlooked or understated. Ben Golliver, The Denver Post, "As Warriors’ injuries mount, Stephen Curry is picking up more of the slack," 5 June 2019 Utilizing miniature models, live feed video and understated acting, the show generates an expansiveness that fills the intimate Dance Loft on 14. Nelson Pressley, Washington Post, "D.C. sniper case is the frame for ‘Forest Treás,’ an experimental show about media," 11 June 2019 The filing also alleges, among other claims, that the Trump Organization understated employee salaries in reports to the Panamanian social security agency, which may have reduced the hotel’s social security tax payments. Ben Protess, New York Times, "A Former Business Partner Alleges the Trumps Evaded Taxes in Panama," 3 June 2019 But for the second time in a month, Car and Driver has discovered that a manufacturer is understating the power delivered by one of its hottest cars. David Beard, Car and Driver, "The 2020 Toyota Supra Makes More Power Than Toyota Claims," 21 May 2019 Rainbirds, by Clarissa Goenawan: A murder mystery and a family drama in one, this book is as beautiful as it is understated. Kepler’s Books, San Francisco Chronicle, "Recommendations from Kepler’s Books," 12 Apr. 2018 And the trust factor here to both of you, gentlemen, cannot be understated more. Fox News, "Sarah Smith aims to be the next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez," 1 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'understate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of understate

1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for understate

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for understate

The first known use of understate was in 1824

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English Language Learners Definition of understate

: to say that (something) is smaller, less important, etc., than it really is

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More from Merriam-Webster on understate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with understate

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Spanish Central: Translation of understate

Nglish: Translation of understate for Spanish Speakers

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