restrained in design, presentation, etc.; low-key: the understated elegance of the house.

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.

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. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for understated



to state (something) in restrained terms, often to obtain an ironic effect
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