un·​der·​es·​ti·​mate | \ˌən-dər-ˈe-stə-ˌmāt \
underestimated; underestimating; underestimates

Definition of underestimate 

transitive verb

1 : to estimate as being less than the actual size, quantity, or number

2 : to place too low a value on : underrate

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Other Words from underestimate

underestimate \ ˌən-​dər-​ˈe-​stə-​mət \ noun
underestimation \ ˌən-​dər-​ˌe-​stə-​ˈmā-​shən \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for underestimate


underrate, undervalue


overestimate, overrate, overvalue

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Examples of underestimate in a Sentence

The city underestimated the cost of the new building. The number of people in the crowd was underestimated by 5,000. Never underestimate the importance of a good education. Her talent has always been underestimated.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Most people underestimate wheelchair users, women, and people of color. Ola Ojewumi, SELF, "I'm Celebrating My Disabled Black Girl Magic Because I'm Done Feeling Invisible," 7 Nov. 2018 Seriously, don't underestimate how much cold temperatures will mitigate the inflammatory response. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "9 Best Cystic Acne Treatments Real People Swear By," 4 Oct. 2018 People who imagine that some sane billionaire businessman is going to save America underestimate how much these people enjoy their lifestyles and not having to give up their privacy. Micah L. Sifry, New Republic, "Why America Is Stuck With Only Two Parties," 2 Feb. 2018 As Vox explained, citing research from the Inter-Parliamentary Union: Women consistently underestimated their qualifications and perceived themselves differently than men who had nearly identical credentials. Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, "Spain’s new cabinet is majority female. Here’s how unusual that is.," 7 June 2018 And this almost certainly underestimates the influence of foreign capital, since the data exclude Canadian immigrants with money from overseas. Conor Dougherty, New York Times, "In Vancouver, a Housing Frenzy That Even Owners Want to End," 2 June 2018 In 2014, Cuomo underestimated Teachout and was caught flat-footed by her relative success. Jessica Pressler, The Cut, "Cynthia Nixon Has Already Won," 15 Apr. 2018 In 2014, Cuomo underestimated Teachout and was caught flat-footed by her relative success. Jessica Pressler, Daily Intelligencer, "Cynthia Nixon Has Already Won," 15 Apr. 2018 Business owners too often underestimate the depth of their own relationship, management and operation skills and assume someone else can easily step into their shoes when the time comes. Stewart Welch, AL.com, "Is your business worth anything?," 15 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underestimate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of underestimate

1792, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for underestimate

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for underestimate

The first known use of underestimate was in 1792

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More Definitions for underestimate



English Language Learners Definition of underestimate

: to estimate (something) as being less than the actual size, quantity, or number

: to think of (someone or something) as being lower in ability, influence, or value than that person or thing actually is

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Comments on underestimate

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by force of circumstances

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