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 the film's director, Goodman was interested in just that; the logistics of the festival and the organizers who grossly underestimated the number of attendees who were planning to attend. Kendall Lindsay, Vogue, "Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary Festival May Be Canceled, But a Documentary Has Just Premiered," 2 May 2019 This isn’t fool-proof, as doctors can definitely get things wrong or underestimate how much pain a person is in—an unfortunate fact that many with endometriosis know from personal experience. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "8 Ways People With Endometriosis Deal With the Pain," 24 Apr. 2019 The strategy is risky, but investors may be underestimating its chance of success. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "A Highflying Growth Strategy Is Paying Off for United," 17 Apr. 2019 Crowley may have underestimated his opponent, who until recently was working as a bartender and organizing for Bernie Sanders. Nancy Cordes, CBS News, "What does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's primary upset mean for Democrats?," 27 June 2018 Finally, economists may underestimate the role of anxiety in modern working life. David Dayen, The New Republic, "How America Broke Its Economy," 8 May 2018 This was especially true for men who had underestimated peer agreement. Kevin Lewis, BostonGlobe.com, "Looking for negative signals," 6 July 2018 Apple may have underestimated how competitive domestic smartphone makers have become, analysts say. Yoko Kubota, WSJ, "Apple’s Troubles Extend Beyond China," 3 Jan. 2019 At the time, the DWP ultimately acknowledged that the utility had badly underestimated how much electricity would be in demand as temperatures soared. Javier Panzar, latimes.com, "Hundreds of customers are still without power as hot and angry Angelenos fume at the DWP," 10 July 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

16 May 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

What made you want to look up underestimate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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