9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uhn-der-steyt-muh nt, uhn-der-steyt-] /ˌʌn dərˈsteɪt mənt, ˈʌn dərˌsteɪt-/
the act or an instance of understating, or representing in a weak or restrained way that is not borne out by the facts:
The journalist wrote that the earthquake had caused some damage. This turned out to be a massive understatement of the devastation.
Origin of understatement Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for understatement
  • It's no understatement to say the entire flower industry depends on that number.
  • To say these climbs are a challenge might be an understatement.
  • To say that this article has some issues is a bit of an understatement.
  • He was accused of hyperbole but seems, rather, to have been guilty of understatement.
  • It would be an understatement to say that both ventures were treated with scepticism.
  • The detail and understatement with which such horrifying loss is represented combine to bring a lump to the throat.
  • To say it has developed a cult following would be an understatement.
  • To call it an ambivalent relationship would be understatement.
  • To say that he was filled with moxie from an early age would be an understatement.
  • To call it a cultural landmark is a gross understatement.
British Dictionary definitions for understatement


the act or an instance of stating something in restrained terms, or as 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 understatement

1799, from under + statement. Understated, with reference to clothing, is recorded from 1957.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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understatement in Culture

understatement definition

A form of irony in which something is intentionally represented as less than it is: “Hank Aaron was a pretty good ball player.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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