American English

Definition of understatement noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a statement that makes something seem less important, impressive, serious, etc. than it really is To say we were pleased is an understatement (= we were extremely pleased). “These figures are a bit disappointing.” “That's got to be the understatement of the year.”
  2. 2[uncountable] the practice of making things seem less impressive, important, serious, etc. than they really are typical British understatement He always goes for subtlety and understatement in his movies.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: understatement