understatement

[uhn-der-steyt-muhnt, uhn-der-steyt-]
noun
the act or an instance of understating, or representing in a weak or restrained way that is not borne out by the facts: The journalist wrote that the earthquake had caused some damage. This turned out to be a massive understatement of the devastation.

Origin:
under- + statement

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Collins
World English Dictionary
understatement (ˌʌndəˈsteɪtmənt)
 
n
the act or an instance of stating something in restrained terms, or as less than it is

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

understatement
1799, from under + statement. Understated, with ref. to clothing, is recorded from 1957.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

understatement definition


A form of irony in which something is intentionally represented as less than it is: “Hank Aaron was a pretty good ball player.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
It's no understatement to say the entire flower industry depends on that number.
To say these climbs are a challenge might be an understatement.
To say that this article has some issues is a bit of an understatement.
He was accused of hyperbole but seems, rather, to have been guilty of
  understatement.
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