verb (used with object), understated, understating.
to state or represent less strongly or strikingly than the facts would bear out; set forth in restrained, moderate, or weak terms: The casualty lists understate the extent of the disaster.

1815–25; under- + state

understatement [uhn-der-steyt-muhnt, uhn-der-steyt-] , noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
understate (ˌʌndəˈsteɪt)
1.  to state (something) in restrained terms, often to obtain an ironic effect
2.  to state that (something, such as a number) is less than it is

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Example sentences
And, quite frankly, much of the problem is that they tend to use it in a way
  that they either overstate it or understate it.
Many of them misinterpret the economic models, which understate the degree to
  which biofuels drive up prices.
However, it is not helpful to overstate the vulnerability or understate the
  reliability of our present electric power system.
All of these figures understate the magnitude of the jobs crisis.
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