understatement

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n understatement a statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Understatement The act of understating, or the condition of being understated; that which is understated; a statement below the truth.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n understatement The act of understating. That which is understated; a statement of less than the full truth.
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Usage

In literature:

Taken literally, however, it was an understatement of the facts and wholly insincere.
"Penrod" by Booth Tarkington
Yet that is rather an understatement of her plight.
"The Price She Paid" by David Graham Phillips
Such statements are, however, understatements.
"Democracy and Education" by John Dewey
Her description was a masterpiece of understatement.
"The Forsyte Saga, Volume III." by John Galsworthy
He got the reserve, the restraint, the commonplace understatement that England affects, into the sentence.
"The Sleuth of St. James's Square" by Melville Davisson Post
Howells realized the unwisdom and weakness of dogmatic insistence, and the strength of understatement.
"Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete" by Albert Bigelow Paine
It should be added that he appreciated as few Germans do the rhetorical value of understatement.
"Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol. 5" by Various
It is an understatement to call Britain insular.
"New York Times, Current History, Vol 1, Issue 1" by Various
As a critic his surest resource had always lain in understatement.
"The Divine Fire" by May Sinclair
It is an understatement to say, as we look about our modern world, that Christianity has not been tried yet.
"Crowds" by Gerald Stanley Lee
This was an understatement.
"Clayhanger" by Arnold Bennett
To call the right to serve a duty is an understatement.
"The Ghost in the White House" by Gerald Stanley Lee
That, Rick thought, was a masterpiece of understatement.
"Smugglers' Reef" by John Blaine
That was an understatement.
"The Foreign Hand Tie" by Gordon Randall Garrett
Her every manner convinced you comments as such were guilty of the grossest understatement.
"The Land of Look Behind" by Paul Cameron Brown
Another quality of Zen art is its understatement or restraint.
"Zen Culture" by Thomas Hoover
I was kept busy devising plausible confirmation of surprising understatements.
"The Professor's Mystery" by Wells Hastings
He was not going to miss anything in the way of a chance of "getting a rise" out of the Administration, by understatement.
"The American Occupation of the Philippines 1898-1912" by James H. Blount
This is an understatement.
"Letters of Lord Acton" by Lord Acton
On the contrary, they are rather understatements of actualities.
"Essays In Pastoral Medicine" by Austin ÓMalley
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In news:

When scary is an understatement.
SOUTH BEND – To say Mr Eller is proud is an understatement.
To say the Colorado College hockey team finished last season with a bad taste in its mouth would be a vast understatement.
In New York City, that's an understatement.
MINOOKA — To say last year's Minooka boys basketball team was successful is an understatement.
To say the 2012 season has been trying for the Odessa High football team is an understatement.
To say I was "looking forward" to Thanksgiving would be a gross understatement.
To say that we were "excited" about the premier of Sparkle would be a gross understatement.
To say that Walmart shoppers are colorful would be an understatement.
Understatement isn't necessarily the draw when it comes to either of these two singing hip-hop figures.
To say that the news about our industry is depressing is an understatement.
That's both an understatement and a credo.
Calling Wendel Patrick multi-talented is an understatement.
To suggest Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville is impressed with West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith might be something of an understatement.
Here "collection" is kind of an understatement.
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In science:

God knows I do not like exclamation points. I generally prefer AngloSaxon understatement to the exalted declarations of the Slavic soul.
Review of "Knots" by Alexei Sossinsky, Harvard University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-674-00944-4
It is an understatement to say that this field of research is driven by experiments at this time.
Quark Matter 2005 -- Theoretical Summary
That great challenges lie ahead is an obvious understatement. A detailed design is required for the accelerator, along with full detector concepts, ever sharper physics arguments, and requisite funding.
Overview and Charge -- Snowmass Workshop 2005
As I explained earlier, the term the Standard Model is a severe understatement and misnomer, since the Standard Model has now been verified in millions of ways at multiple laboratories on earth and in the heavens.
Searching for the Standard Model in the String Landscape : SUSY GUTs
Mackensie writes: "He was a central member of the influential group of "mathematicizers" within computer science, b ut the mathematics he sought to apply was ordinary informal mathematics." (p. 49) This seems a rather strong understatement of Naur’s criticizing to me.
Adding Methodological Testing to Naur's Anti-formalism
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