un·​der·​stat·​ed | \ ˌən-dər-ˈstā-təd \

Definition of understated

: avoiding obvious emphasis or embellishment understated elegance

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from understated

understatedly adverb

Examples of understated in a Sentence

the actor's understated interpretation of the lead role is surprisingly compelling

Recent Examples on the Web

Today, Princess Beatrice opted for a surprisingly understated look, featuring a asymmetrical boatneck cut and modest, neutral stilettos. Lucia Tonelli, Town & Country, "Princess Beatrice's Maid of Honor Dress is Seriously Breathtaking," 12 Oct. 2018 All were eclipsed by the presence of longtime Lauren fan, Hillary Clinton who arrived at the black tie dinner in an ice blue gown and sapphire earrings, an understated look befitting a seasoned stateswoman. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Hillary Clinton Was A Breath of Fresh Air at Ralph Lauren’s 50th Anniversary Show," 8 Sep. 2018 This understated, nuanced feature from Argentina concerns a shy high school student whose sense of self-awareness builds when his family must house a young man from the wrong side of the tracks. David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, "Frameline offers movie feast during Pride Week," 14 June 2018 The chic and understated calla lily is a simple and modern choice for a bouquet—whether on Valentine's Day or otherwise. Chanel Vargas, Town & Country, "12 Best Valentine's Day Flower Arrangements for That Special Someone," 18 Dec. 2018 Her understated, minimal aesthetic is underpinned by impeccable tailoring. Tamara Abraham, Harper's BAZAAR, "Will Princess Eugenie Wear a Stella McCartney Wedding Gown Down the Aisle Today?," 12 Oct. 2018 Her sister, Princess Beatrice, also went for a more understated look. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding Dress Has Everyone Talking," 19 May 2018 If bright and bold is your style, think about something more understated with a colorless choice. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Christmas Tree Shops Just Released Its Holiday Decor and We Want Everything," 13 Oct. 2018 Kate Orne and Bill Sand’s 1811 stone-and-wood farmhouse in upstate New York has an understated elegance. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "9 vacation homes to fuel your wanderlust," 30 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of understated

circa 1909, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about understated

Share understated

Statistics for understated

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for understated

The first known use of understated was circa 1909

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for understated



English Language Learners Definition of understated

: expressed or done in a quiet or simple way

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on understated

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with understated

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for understated

Nglish: Translation of understated for Spanish Speakers

Comments on understated

What made you want to look up understated? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!