This literary device refers to the practice of drawing attention to a fact that is already obvious and noticeable. Understating a fact is usually done by way of sarcasm, irony, wryness or any other form of dry humor. Understating something is akin to exaggerating its obviousness as a means of humor.

The phrase, “Oh! I wonder if he could get any later; I am free all day long”. Said in a sarcastic tone it indicates that the speaker obviously means the opposite of the literal meaning.

4 thoughts on “Understatement”

    1. No. That’s just a common way of using this word. The statement “This is a mess” can be an understatement, but the saying of the sentence is not one.

  1. The win-a-trip journey is exhausting and may involve bed bugs, rats and the worst food you’ve ever eaten.

  2. Example from Sylvia Waugh’s book “Earthborn”

    The girl in the novel has found out that she is an alien and her parents are taking her soon to her “home planet.” She runs away and the police officer investigating the incident says that “[teens] overreact” when they are confronted with a family move.”

    Obvious to the reader, moving to another town is nothing like moving to another planet.

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