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


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

As a result, the findings could underestimate the proportion of people with CTE who develop these issues. Sabine Galvis, Science | AAAS, "Even if you don’t play contact sports, you could develop signs of traumatic brain injury," 3 July 2019 Naomi Watts, playing the Fox host Gretchen Carlson (who precipitated the avalanche of allegations that eventually brought Ailes down), more deftly communicates the seething rage of a woman continually being underestimated and undermined. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Loudest Voice Stops Short of Revealing Roger Ailes," 27 June 2019 In the end the ruling party underestimated its opponent, Mr. Imamoglu. New York Times, "How a Message of Unity and Mistakes by Erdogan Tipped the Istanbul Election," 26 June 2019 As a result, federal crime statistics drastically underestimate its prevalence and impact. Renee Dudley, ProPublica, "We’re Reporting on Ransomware. Do You Know Something About an Attack?," 15 May 2019 But recently the Institute for Women’s Policy Research called these numbers gross underestimates. Emma Goldberg, Glamour, "A Penny for Her Thoughts? Women in the Gig Economy Struggle to Get Paid," 16 Apr. 2019 But Macrinus’s biggest error was underestimating just how much Caracalla’s family wanted to return to power. National Geographic, "The short reign of Elagabalus, Rome's hard-partying emperor," 19 Mar. 2019 If anything, the network greatly underestimated the show’s entertainment value — the premiere captured an unprecedented 25 million viewers, suddenly vaulting her to first place among TV comedies. Allen Frances, STAT, "The devil didn’t make me do it — it was Ambien. Nice try, Roseanne," 30 May 2018 However, Solomon underestimated the power of the internet and Tower was unable to compete against Amazon, iTunes and other forces. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "New national honor to be bestowed upon Tower Records founder Russ Solomon | The Sacramento Bee," 12 Apr. 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

11 Jul 2019

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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