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understate

[uhn-der-steyt] /ˌʌn dərˈsteɪt/
verb (used with object), understated, understating.
1.
to state or represent less strongly or strikingly than the facts would bear out; set forth in restrained, moderate, or weak terms:
The casualty lists understate the extent of the disaster.
Origin of understate
1815-1825
1815-25; under- + state
Related forms
understatement
[uhn-der-steyt-muh nt, uhn-der-steyt-] /ˌʌn dərˈsteɪt mənt, ˈʌn dərˌsteɪt-/ (Show IPA),
noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for understating
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And here I may notice, in passing, the peculiar habit of understating everything, so characteristic of Westmoreland people.

  • But is not this understating the case on the Episcopal side?

  • And when I say it puzzled me like the dickens, I am understating it; if anything.

    Right Ho, Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse
  • The fact is nobody knows, and in all probability the Spanish authorities had an interest in understating the number.

  • Perhaps after all the lawyers had done him by understating the amount his brother had left.

    Tales of Mean Streets Arthur Morrison
  • To say that Eva was in love with Reggie would be both overstating it and understating it.

    The Rubicon E. F. Benson
  • The gauge hadn't been bragging, it had been understating; the car had more speed than the instrument could register.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
British Dictionary definitions for understating

understate

/ˌʌndəˈsteɪt/
verb
1.
to state (something) in restrained terms, often to obtain an ironic effect
2.
to state that (something, such as a number) is less than it is
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for understating

understate

v.

1824, from under + state (v.). Related: Understated (of fashions, etc., from 1957); understating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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14
18
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