un·​der·​es·​ti·​mate | \ ˌən-dər-ˈe-stə-ˌmāt How to pronounce underestimate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce underestimate (audio) \ noun
underestimation \ ˌən-​dər-​ˌe-​stə-​ˈmā-​shən How to pronounce underestimation (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for underestimate



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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 Conversely, the weight of dinosaurs such as T. Rex, who was recently found to have grown far more quickly during its teenage years, may have been underestimated. Fox News, "10 largest meat-eating dinosaurs," 5 Apr. 2020 What’s more, the model suggests that Neanderthal ancestry in Europeans has also been slightly underestimated. National Geographic, "You may have more Neanderthal DNA than you think," 30 Jan. 2020 Southwest repeatedly underestimated the risks of its actions, raising concerns about the company’s culture, the report said. Alan Levin, Bloomberg.com, "FAA’s Oversight of Southwest Airlines Slammed by Watchdog," 6 May 2020 Why do rural folk underestimate the rewards of working in a city? The Economist, "Tall tales of the city Why urban migrants understate how much they earn," 8 Apr. 2020 Current models predicting the impact of global warming on hurricanes, heatwaves and other weather events are probably underestimating what may come, according to a study published in Science Advances on Wednesday. Fox News, "Future may bring more extreme storms and heat waves, study claims," 20 Mar. 2020 What a remarkable life in an era when women were still underestimated. Smithsonian Magazine, "Readers Respond to the March 2020 Issue," 20 Mar. 2020 Officials said the government’s models partly underestimated the speed at which the virus has spread through the capital and the number of people who would likely need hospital treatment. Max Colchester, WSJ, "U.K. Holds Off on Imposing Partial Lockdown in London," 19 Mar. 2020 Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, a scholar of the Great Depression, initially underestimated the risk. James Pethokoukis, TheWeek, "Is coronavirus really a black swan event?," 8 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for underestimate

Time Traveler

The first known use of underestimate was in 1792

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Statistics for underestimate

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Underestimate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underestimate. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for underestimate


How to pronounce underestimate (audio)

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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