understatement

noun un·der·state·ment \ ˌən-dər-ˈstāt-mənt \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of understatement

plural understatements
1 : 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
  • It is an understatement to say that the Internet has made life far more convenient for staggeringly many people.
  • —Cass R. Sunstein
; also : the act of understating something or the practice of making such statements
  • 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
2 : 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.
  • Premiere
  • 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

First Known Use of understatement

1799



UNDERSTATEMENT Defined for Kids

understatement

noun un·der·state·ment \ ˌən-dər-ˈstāt-mənt \

Definition of understatement for Students

: a statement that makes something seem smaller or less important or serious than it really is

Learn More about understatement


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