“Affect” vs. “Effect”: Use The Correct Word Every Time. (William Shakespeare – Romeo & Juliet) This is one of the most famous metaphors in all of English literature. The reference of “some small error” is an understatement as the error which ends somebody’s power is not small at all. [Aunt Sally] “Good gracious, anybody hurt?” [Huck] “No’m. “A small, short war that rarely extended throughout more than .02% of the galaxy and .01% by stellar population … the galaxy’s elder civilisations rate the Idiran-Culture war as … one of those singularly interesting Events they see so rarely these days.”. Examples and Observations . understatement definition: 1. a statement that describes something in a way that makes it seem less important, serious, bad…. The body of written works of a language, period, or culture. Another example of understatement comes from Primula Bond’s novel The Silver Chain: “And you, who have told me a hundred times how deeply you pitied me for the sorceries by which I was bound, will doubtless hear with joy that they are now ended forever. Or do you just have an interest in foreign languages? Understatement is when a writer presents a situation or thing as if it is less important or serious than it is in reality. Litotes as a Form of Understatement "Understated instead of hyperbolic , [litotes] often seems to turn attention away from itself, like its cousin, paralipsis , which emphasizes something by pretending to ignore it, and it can disarm potential opponents and avoid controversy; yet it emphasizes whatever it touches." adj. . 1. Definition of Meiosis. It isn’t very serious. Look at the understatement in Night’s Dawn Trilogy written by Peter F. Hamilton: “I’ve always been a massive admirer of the Edenist ability to understate. Similarly, suppose a team loses to its opponent 50 to 0 in a soccer match, and the captain of the team says in a post-match ceremony, “We did not do well,” it is an understatement because he is trying to decrease the intensity of the loss. v. Past tense and past participle of understand. To say that the past few years have been a watershed period of improvement for LGBT America is an understatement. “It seems that we have a little problem,” Christianson said, making what would probably be the understatement of the century. This excerpt from Mark Twain’s famous work provides one of the great understatement examples found in Twain’s literary pieces. I perceived Wenceslaus, in a moment of understatement, to be more than a little disaffected. “It rained a bit more than usual.” – Describing an area being flooded by heavy rainfall. This turned out to be a massive understatement of the devastation. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition The Rise of Jack Antonoff, the Taylor Swift Whisperer, The Unsinkable Lee Grant Sets the Record Straight, The American Occupation of the Philippines 1898-1912, Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol. Tenor and Vehicle "Because he was dissatisfied with the traditional grammatical and rhetorical account of metaphor, which he believed emphasized its merely decorative and embellishing powers, I. There was, it seems, some small error in your Ladyship’s way of treating them.”. IV. An understatement is a figure of speech employed by writers or speakers to intentionally make a situation seem less important than it really is. This article will also show you the importance of Understatement and how to use it. Copyright © 2021 Literary Devices. Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012. What Is The Difference Between “It’s” And “Its”? Definition, Usage and a list of Understatement Examples in common speech and literature. That may sound like the understatement of the century, and maybe it is. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Clear Understatement examples and definition. But I think defining a chunk of land fifteen kilometers across that suddenly takes flight and wanders off into another dimension as a little problem is possibly the best example yet.”. . In another fantasy novel, Consider Phlebas, an understatement was made about a war that lasted for 48 years, and took the lives of more than 851 billion beings. Two more figures of speech which are related are the hyperbole and understatement.These two terms are basically opposites. Understatement definition, the act or an instance of understating, or representing in a weak or restrained way that is not borne out by the facts: The journalist wrote that the earthquake had caused some damage. It is not an understatement to say that this is the most anticipated book release of the season—if not the year. Why Do “Left” And “Right” Mean Liberal And Conservative? What does literature mean? Define understood. “Deserts are sometimes hot, dry, and sandy.” – Describing deserts of the world. Many times was an understatement, Latham thought wretchedly. It is the east, and Juliet is the sun! (noun) All rights reserved. Killing a black man was not considered something serious. See more. The Dictionary.com Word Of The Year For 2020 Is …. A form of irony in which something is intentionally represented as less than it is: “Hank Aaron was a pretty good ball player.”, The Most Surprisingly Serendipitous Words Of The Day. 'Since any metaphor at … Writers use atmosphere in literature to create an emotional tone for the piece. And considering his massive music-industry thumb print, that “you oughta know” Jack Antonoff is an understatement. Characterization is a crucial aspect of any narrative literature, for the simple reason that complex, interesting characters are vital to narrative literature. “Depression” vs. “Anxiety”: Which Do I Have (Or Is It Both)? Dictionary.com Unabridged © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Killed a nigger.”. An understatement is a tool that helps to develop other figures of speech, such as irony and sarcasm, by deliberately decreasing the severity of a situation, when an intense response is expected by the listeners or the readers. To say I’m disappointed, frustrated are all understatements. Writers therefore use the techniques of characterization to develop and describe characters': To call Nia Long an ageless beauty would be an understatement. After the Israel Synagogue Massacre: A New Intifada? But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? Either way, this quiz on Spanish words for animals is for you. In rhetoric, litotes (/ ˈ l aɪ t ə t iː z /, US: / ˈ l ɪ t ə t iː z / or / l aɪ ˈ t oʊ t iː z /; also known classically as antenantiosis or moderatour) is a figure of speech and form of verbal irony in which understatement is used to emphasize a point by stating a negative to further affirm a positive, often incorporating double negatives for effect. Let us try to understand understatement better with the help of some common examples of understatement used in daily conversations: In Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield says: “I have to have this operation. with the notion of 'a borrowing between and intercourse of thoughts. To say that actress Lee Grant has seen it all would be an understatement. In response, you make an understatement, “It doesn’t look too bad.” Therefore, an understatement is opposite to another figure of speech, hyperbole, which is an overstatement. - Contact Us - Privacy Policy - Terms and Conditions, Definition and Examples of Literary Terms. understood synonyms, understood pronunciation, understood translation, English dictionary definition of understood. A. Richards in 1936 reintroduced this pair of terms . The word meiosis originated from the Greek word meioo, which means “to diminish,” or “to make smaller.”Meiosis can be defined as a witty understatement that belittles or dismisses something or somebody; particularly by making use of terms that give an impression that something is less important than it is or it should be. I lost my temper.”. Killed a nigger” exposes the thinking of the people of the time, who did not consider black men humans. The journalist wrote that the earthquake had caused some damage. Examples of Metaphor in Literature Example 1. In Emperor Mage, a fantasy novel by Tamora Pierce, Daine states (as if she has done nothing wrong): “I thought they’d killed you. This turned out to be a massive understatement of … If this seems like a loose definition, don't worry—it is. Having a tumor in the brain is a serious issue, which has been understated in this excerpt. Irony is a literary device or event in which how things seem to be is in fact very different from how they actually are. An understatement is a figure of speech employed by writers or speakers to intentionally make a situation seem less important than it really is. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain.”. For example, you win 10 million dollars in a lottery. Are you learning Spanish? All Rights Reserved. What Is An Em Dash And How Do You Use It? These Photos Prove She Absolutely Doesn’t Age, Stop doomscrolling on social media and read a book, Are you ready to start traveling for work again? Obviously, Juliet, is not literally the sun, or Romeo would burn to death. This is an understatement that Daine makes, after raising an army of dinosaur skeletons to destroy the king and later, she destroys the imperial palace in order to avenge the death of her teacher. An understatement usually has an ironic effect, as an equally intense response is expected in severe situations, but the statement in response is the opposite of what was expected. For instance, your friend returns your new coat with a large wine stain on the front of it. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Learn more. Huck’s response, “No’m. Satirical definition, of, pertaining to, containing, or characterized by satire: satirical novels. “It was O.K.” – Said by the student who got the highest score on the test. It should be added that he appreciated as few Germans do the rhetorical value of understatement. 5. TripActions’ CEO is banking on it. To say that the aftermath has been messy would be an understatement. “It is a bit nippy today.” – Describing the temperature, which is 5 degrees below freezing. To say that this has been a stressful year is a gross understatement. Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021, Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition To say that the travel industry has been hit hard by the pandemic is an understatement. the act or an instance of stating something in restrained terms, or as less than it is, Maryland’s newcomers lead the way in stunning rout at Penn State, Happy Birthday Nia Long! “He is not too thin.” – Describing an obese person. He was not going to miss anything in the way of a chance of “getting a rise” out of the Administration, by understatement. When you tell a news reporter “I am delighted,” you are making an understatement. Or do you just have an interest in foreign languages to be a massive of... 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