Definition of understate in US English:



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

    ‘the press has understated the extent of the problem’
    • ‘Commentators who say that the political landscape changed dramatically in the past year are grossly understating the true state of affairs.’
    • ‘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 he was delighted with it is understating the case.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To say this property needs renovation may be understating the case.’
    • ‘Even so, he's not one for understating his ambitions, once again setting out his goal to create a ‘world-class business’.’
    • ‘To say we are disappointed would be understating it.’
    • ‘That bland description understates the drama and stakes of the investigation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘No, that would be grossly understating the hopelessness of his present situation.’
    • ‘To say I'm suffering from a combination of culture shock and stomach churning homesickness would be understating it.’
    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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