Stylistic Devices: Understatement

What is Understatement?

Understatement is a figure of speech used by writers or speakers to deliberately make a situation seem less important or serious than it really is.

Examples of understatement

  • “It stings a bit” – a soldier describing the pain he feels after he has just lost his leg.
  • “It has rained a little more than the average” – describing a flooded area.
  • “It was an interesting experience.” – describing a difficult unbearable experience.
  • “The grave’s a fine and private place,
    But none, I think, do there embrace.”
    (Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”)

Understatement Figure of Speech

36 Figures of Speech Types Simile Metaphor Etc With Examples
36 Figures of Speech Types Simile Metaphor Etc With Examples

List of Figures of Speech in the English Language – Literary Devices

Accumulation Climax Metalepsis
Adjunction Dysphemism Metaphor
Adnomination Ellipsis Metonymy
Alliteration Euphemism Simile
Allusion Epigram Synecdoche
Anaphora Epiphora (or epistrophe) Tautology
Antanaclasis Hyperbole Understatement
Anticlimax Hypophora Zeugma and syllepsis
Antiphrasis Irony
Antithesis Litotes
Apostrophe Oxymoron
Assonance Personification
Cataphora Puns
Chiasmus Merism

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