Definition of understate in English:



[with object]
  • Describe or represent (something) as being smaller or less good or important than it really is.

    ‘the press have understated the extent of the problem’
    • ‘No, that would be grossly understating the hopelessness of his present situation.’
    • ‘Commentators who say that the political landscape changed dramatically in the past year are grossly understating the true state of affairs.’
    • ‘To say I'm suffering from a combination of culture shock and stomach churning homesickness would be understating it.’
    • ‘Not only is there little sign of a cooling of this demand, but there is also a concern that the trade figures - awful as they are - may even be understating the volume of manufactured imports.’
    • ‘To say we are disappointed would be understating it.’
    • ‘To say he was delighted with it is understating the case.’
    • ‘To say this property needs renovation may be understating the case.’
    • ‘To describe e-mail as an enabling technology greatly understates its influence.’
    • ‘If anything that is rather understating the case - I have been overwhelmed by what I have seen and heard.’
    • ‘I've used these kinds of distancing techniques myself - writers often do when they want to highlight the horror of a situation by understating the actual details.’
    • ‘That bland description understates the drama and stakes of the investigation.’
    • ‘Even so, he's not one for understating his ambitions, once again setting out his goal to create a ‘world-class business’.’
    play down, downplay, make light of, underrate, rate too low, not do justice to, do an injustice to, underplay, de-emphasize, underemphasize, trivialize, minimize, diminish, downgrade, reduce, lessen, brush aside, gloss over, shrug off
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