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 Marcus Dilliard’s lighting shifts from sunny sanguinity to hazy haunted house; Sean Healy’s sound design is understated but offers a couple of auditory jokes. Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities, "Theater review: ‘Ride the Cyclone’ is loopy, thoughtful, thoroughly enjoyable," 15 Sep. 2019 As with Purdue Pharma, the civil action accused Teva of overstating the effectiveness and understating the addictiveness of opioid medications. Kevin Mccoy, USA TODAY, "'Clearly a game.' Opioid lawsuit settlements arranged to give drug companies a tax break, experts say," 12 Sep. 2019 The number promoted by Purdue, however, is an inadequate measure of market share and understates the company’s role in the opioid epidemic, according to experts and the new ProPublica analysis. David Armstrong, ProPublica, "Data Touted by OxyContin Maker to Fight Lawsuits Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story," 9 Sep. 2019 The documents overstated business expenses and understated business profits for Creative Consultants and the Georgia Christian Coalition. James Salzer, ajc, "Feds release new charges against suspended Georgia commissioner Beck," 14 Aug. 2019 Last year Sweetwater was found to have misrepresented its finances, including understating its spending, which forced the district to make emergency spending cuts during the school year. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sweetwater school district budget understated spending by as much as $20 million, county official says," 8 Aug. 2019 The loss of Brontae Harris early in fall camp cannot be understated. Evan Dudley, al, "10 takeaways from UAB’s first 2 weeks," 11 Sep. 2019 The good Exceptional comfort, balanced sound, and understated design at an affordable price. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: The best gaming headsets for your console or gaming rig," 21 Aug. 2019 The loss of Redick to the New Orleans Pelicans should not be understated. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Winderman: Outside signings might prove more impactful to Heat | Commentary," 3 Aug. 2019

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

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for understate

The first known use of understate was in 1824

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How to pronounce understate (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for understate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with understate

Spanish Central: Translation of understate

Nglish: Translation of understate for Spanish Speakers

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