: a statement that represents something as smaller or less intense, or less important than it really is : a statement that understates something
- To say that I was surprised by this outcome would be an understatement. I was completely blindsided ….
- —Russ Becker
: the act of understating something or the practice of making such statements
- It is an understatement to say that the Internet has made life far more convenient for staggeringly many people.
- —Cass R. Sunstein
- understatement of population growth
- To say Britain isn't good at coping with snow would be to exercise British understatement.
- —Catherine Mayer
- We have been taught to value terseness and understatement …
- —Irving Howe
: the avoidance of obvious emphasis or embellishment : an understated condition, appearance, etc.
- Sure, glamour is still the operative word regarding fashion, but where flamboyance once ruled, there is now understatement and classic elegance.
- He capitalizes on his reputation for understatement by saving huge sonorities for significant occasions; as a result, his rare musical outbursts seem not so much theatrical as visceral, as if they were blows sustained in real time.
- —Alex Ross