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“Better than to exaggerate, I have lessened in all things.” - La Relacíon

  • It might be better to include a little additional context for the quote. Is the original in English or is this a translation? – KillingTime Jun 6 at 20:59
  • Is this the work of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca? – Hot Licks Jun 6 at 21:11
  • @HotLicks - Maybe one of his Relacíons. – Jim Jun 6 at 22:01
  • @Cascabel - Sorry. I took French not Spanish/Portuguese in school – Jim Jun 6 at 23:11
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    @Cascabel - Ha! And I see now that he was Spanish. For some reason I had it in my head he was Portuguese, but I guess not. – Jim Jun 7 at 0:57
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On no evidence at all (I don't know Spanish) I suggest this is a clumsy translation of an original that says something like

Rather than exaggerating I have understated everything.

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If we put the subject first we get:

I have lessened in all things, better than to exaggerate.

The parallelism and elision/sluicing (basically, omitting) is tricky, but the question is: what does the author mean by lessened?

I would interpret it, given the antonym provided "exaggerate", to lessen here means to downplay or basically be humble.

This is the speakers way of saying, "Of everything I have told you, that is worst-case scenario; if you investigated my assertions, they would meet or exceed expectations. In my opinion, this is better than talking it all up (to exaggerate)"

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To avoid any chance of exaggeration, he has purposely gone the other way and and "lessened" his statements.

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