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Origin of understated

First recorded in 1935–40; understate + -ed2
Related formsun·der·stat·ed·ness, noun


verb (used with object), un·der·stat·ed, un·der·stat·ing.
  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

First recorded in 1815–25; under- + state
Related formsun·der·state·ment [uhn-der-steyt-muh nt, uhn-der-steyt-] /ˌʌn dərˈsteɪt mənt, ˈʌn dərˌsteɪt-/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for understated

minimize, downplay, lessen, underrate, undervalue, devalue

Examples from the Web for understated

Contemporary Examples of understated

Historical Examples of understated

British Dictionary definitions for understated


  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

Word Origin and History for understated



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper