“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
  • 1
    @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

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.


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)"


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

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