Looking for a colloquial way to translate: to say the least into Chinese.

Hujiang says:

to say the least的意思是: 至少可以这样说,退一步说



The logic of this was weird to say the least.


...sounds weird to me....

The next example sentence omits the phrase completely:

The chorus is very catchy to say the least.


Most of the examples of 至少可以说 that I found through Baidu just seem to be translations of English.

  • What colloquial/natural ways are there to express to say the least in Chinese?
  • it might help if you could paraphrase what "to say the least" means - that might help explain why things like 起碼可以說/輕描淡寫 are weird/wrong, and (maybe) get you something more native to Chinese. Feb 25, 2015 at 23:27
  • @MasterSparkles it's always this kind of paraphrasing that makes me realize that I don't even know what the original English really means...
    – Mou某
    Feb 27, 2015 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


The one on my mind is “不说别的,(至少/光是)...”. 至少 for positive statements, 光是 for negative ones.

The logic of this was weird to say the least. 不说别的,光是逻辑就很奇怪。

The chorus is very catchy to say the least. 不说别的,至少副歌很容易上口。

  • When you use 至少 or 光是, doesn't it make 不说别的 redundant? Unless you are using it for emphasis... Mar 11, 2015 at 22:43
  • @MichaelLai It doesn't sound redundant to me. I think this is an idiomatic usage that both parts are usually used together.
    – NS.X.
    Mar 12, 2015 at 0:01

Word for word translations are not always available or desirable. 至少/起码可以说 works, but is foreign in scope. What you want is a phrase that catches the essence of it, like 说得好听, or 毫不夸张地说, or perhaps 坦率地说. 退一步说 is fine, too.

Shorter and more to the point equivalents are 说少 and 少言之.

打折扣地说 and 轻描淡写 both mean understatement, which is another way of phrasing it.

  • I had thought of 轻描淡写 but seemed weird at the beginning of a sentence or 轻描淡写地说....
    – Mou某
    Feb 25, 2015 at 22:24
  • Given 'least' as the superlative of OE 'lytel'= 'little' really means 'the smallest', would you go with ‘说最少的‘?? Could you say it like that in Chinese?
    – Pedroski
    Feb 25, 2015 at 23:32

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