Definition of understatement noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    understatement

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ˈʌndəsteɪtmənt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈʌndərsteɪtmənt//
     
     
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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 English understatement He always goes for subtlety and understatement in his movies.
  3. opposite overstatement
    Extra examples To say he wasn’t amused must be the understatement of the year. with typical British understatement ‘These figures are a bit disappointing.’ ‘That’s got to be the understatement of the year.’ To say we were pleased is an understatement.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: understatement