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[uhn-der-stey-tid] /ˌʌn dərˈsteɪ tɪd/
restrained in design, presentation, etc.; low-key:
the understated elegance of the house.
Origin of understated
1935-40; understate + -ed2
Related forms
understatedness, noun


[uhn-der-steyt] /ˌʌn dərˈsteɪt/
verb (used with object), understated, understating.
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.
1815-25; under- + state
Related forms
[uhn-der-steyt-muh nt, uhn-der-steyt-] /ˌʌn dərˈsteɪt mənt, ˈʌn dərˌsteɪt-/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for understated
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They were massed, standing among benches on either side, and if anything Pyairr Ravney had understated their numbers.

    A Slave is a Slave Henry Beam Piper
  • "I liked it, Mr. Paret," she replied simply, and I knew that she had understated.

    A Far Country, Complete Winston Churchill
  • "I am half mad," says she, and any one who reads the letter will conclude that she understated her mental condition.

    Drake, Nelson and Napoleon Walter Runciman
  • I have understated it; it is not ten, but a hundred, that I should have said.

    The Guide of the Desert Gustave Aimard
  • In order that we may understated this, it becomes necessary for us to consider the means by which it is formed.

    The Elements of Agriculture George E. Waring
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
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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
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