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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Understatement'

Understatement Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    understatement n : a statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said [ant: exaggeration]
Understatement Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Understatement \Un"der*state`ment\, n. The act of understating, or the condition of being understated; that which is understated; a statement below the truth.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Understatement'

Understatement is a form of speech which contains an expression of less strength than what would be expected. This is not to be confused with euphemism, where a polite phrase is used in place of a harsher or more offensive expression.

Understatement is a staple of humor in English-speaking cultures, especially in British humor. For example, in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, a suburban dinner party is invaded by Death, who wears a long black cloak and carries a scythe. He is the Grim Reaper; the party is over; the guests must all go with him. "Well," says one party guest, "that's cast rather a gloom over the evening, hasn't it?" In another scene, an Army officer has just lost his leg. When asked how he feels, he looks down at his bloody stump and responds, "Stings a bit."

Event: The well-known Victorian critique of Cleopatra's behavior: "So unlike the home life of our own dear Queen!"

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