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

While critics will argue that the funds should have been spent instead on pressing everyday needs, the power of architectural symbols should not be underestimated. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "A wreck no more: $15 million renovation makes Illinois’ once-decrepit Executive Mansion shine again," 16 June 2018 However, these creatures’ agility should not be underestimated. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Lake Houston gators, River Grove boat ramp: 3 highlights from the July KSA Parks meeting," 13 July 2018 Still, the possibility of a full reversal of Roe — at once or in stages — should not be underestimated. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Are Democrats Crying Wolf on Threat to Abortion Rights?," 3 July 2018 The skills that are required to work at an employer like Carrier for a decade or longer shouldn’t be underestimated. Abbie Kopf, Indianapolis Star, "How recently laid-off workers can find their next gig," 19 June 2018 Trump said during an interview outside the White House Friday that Kim's power should not be underestimated. Bloomberg.com, "The Latest on Trump and North Korea," 15 June 2018 Rodgers presence in this equation shouldn't be underestimated. John Canzano, OregonLive.com, "Canzano: Major League move not only for Russell Wilson and Ciara, but for Portland," 1 June 2018 While the majority of national attention will understandably be devoted to national or state executive races, the number of women seeking local office should not be underestimated in terms of importance. Amelia Harnish, refinery29.com, "Close To 300 Women Are On The Ballot Today. Win Or Lose, They’ve Already Made History," 15 May 2018 For all the relief in Klopp and his players at the final whistle, though, the scale of what Liverpool has achieved this season should not be underestimated. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Champions League: Liverpool Ousts Roma in Loss That Doubles as a Triumph," 2 May 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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Last Updated

19 Sep 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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to make amends

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