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over·​es·​ti·​mate ˌō-vər-ˈe-stə-ˌmāt How to pronounce overestimate (audio)
overestimated; overestimating

transitive verb

: to estimate or value (someone or something) too highly
… the senator had been so responsible about his potential tax liabilities that he had substantially overestimated what he owed the government.David Burnham
… our habit of overestimating our knowledge and underestimating our ignorance …David A. Shaywitz
The emotional power of this reunion can't be overestimated.Joe Klein
"I mean that I am afraid I overestimated him. I don't think that he is a painter of the first rank."Henry James


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over·​es·​ti·​mate ˌō-vər-ˈe-stə-mət How to pronounce overestimate (audio)
plural overestimates
: an estimate that is too high
overestimates of the company's future profits
Diamond still attacks the growth projections that the utilities have put forward, arguing that the … figures were overestimatesNorman Boucher

Examples of overestimate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
One Tesla driver seemingly overestimated the car’s abilities by taking it on a snowmobile trail through the Adirondacks, according to investigators in New York. Mark Price, Miami Herald, 7 Feb. 2024 Moreover, news reports have found that some programs overestimate how much carbon is being captured or engage in questionable practices. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, 6 Feb. 2024 This agreement among the federal government and Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming was based on science that overestimated the amount of water that would be available in the years to come. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Jan. 2024 Some activity trackers overestimate activity levels by 10% or more, driving a potential weight gain of 10 pounds per year. Samantha Kleinberg, STAT, 8 Jan. 2024 Voelcker, though bullish on EVs, argued that automakers and the industry overall may have overestimated Americans' initial fascination with them. Morgan Korn, ABC News, 1 Jan. 2024 As a consequence, our results may underestimate human performance and overestimate AI performance. Benj Edwards, Ars Technica, 1 Dec. 2023 They are loosely regulated and investigations by news organizations in recent years have shown some programs overestimate how much carbon is being captured or have questionable practices. Isabella O'Malley, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024 Invitees again overestimated how negative the hosts’ reactions would be. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 22 Dec. 2023
These overestimates may just be psychological flukes. Politifact Staff Writer, Dallas News, 17 July 2023 Efficiencies are often measured by plotting a curve of current against voltage—but for perovskites, the curves differ depending on whether the voltage is increasing or decreasing, an anomaly known as hysteresis that may have led to overestimates of perovskite performance in the past. IEEE Spectrum, 7 Jan. 2015 And even those lackluster stats could be an overestimate, because they’re drawn from the National Immunization Surveys, which is done by phone and so reflects the answers of people willing to take federal surveyors’ calls. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 2 Nov. 2023 The studios said just after the talks broke off that the per-subscriber charge would cost them $800 million annually, a figure SAG-AFTRA said was a vast overestimate. Andrew Dalton, Fortune, 23 Oct. 2023 Yet even if each patient generated a book’s worth of text (a gross overestimate), this is far less data than what is currently used to train existing foundation models. Jenna Wiens, STAT, 25 Aug. 2023 Across the demographics there is an average underestimate in absolute values of non-Hispanic whites by 10 percentage points, and an overestimate of minorities (excluding Jews here) of about 15 percentage points. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 7 Jan. 2012 This hyper-visibility can also catalyze backlashes to equality when people who are fooled by the diversity shell game overestimate progress on diversity and resist change. J. Nathan Matias, WIRED, 26 Mar. 2023 It’s believed the tiger population was around 1,800 at the time, but experts widely consider that an overestimate due to imprecise counting methods in India until 2006. Sibi Arasu, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overestimate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1797, in the meaning defined above


1828, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of overestimate was in 1797

Dictionary Entries Near overestimate

Cite this Entry

“Overestimate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overestimate. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


overestimated; overestimating
: to estimate as being more than the actual size, quantity, or number
overestimated how many would attend
: to place too high a value on : overrate
overestimated his abilities

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