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

For years, Americans overestimated the benefits of opioids and underestimated the risks. Bob Moos, Dallas News, "Medicare grows stricter on opioids," 7 June 2019 The environmental impacts of these sales are not to be underestimated — one-quarter of all carbon emissions in the United States come from fossil fuels drilled on public lands. Maia Wikler, Teen Vogue, "Activists Protest Bureau of Land Management Leasing That Allow Oil and Gas Drilling on Public Lands," 15 Apr. 2019 My new climate also taught me to never underestimate the intensity of the sun. Sara King-abadi, SELF, "What I Wish I Knew About Skin Care Before Moving to the Mountains," 12 Apr. 2019 Kim Kardashian West is used to being underestimated. Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West Vogue Cover, Photographed by Mikael Jansson," 10 Apr. 2019 But while reality may be more complicated than Bollywood embellishment, Pakistan would be foolish to underestimate India’s growing expectations for its military and intelligence agencies. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "Pakistan-Based Jihadists Kill 40, and Indians Demand a Response," 21 Feb. 2019 Sometimes in the moment, its easy to underestimate the impact of seemingly small details. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Who is 'Bachelor' Contestant Cassie Randolph?," 16 Jan. 2019 Aside from a drop in performance — though my colleague Dieter Bohn says not to underestimate it — not much else is lost in the change in size. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "How to pick the Microsoft Surface that’s right for you," 2 Aug. 2018 The win is not to be underestimated: Mexico, sometimes a World Cup underachiever, has the blend of ability and belief to rise to the top of one of the World Cup’s hardest groups. Editors, USA TODAY, "Here's the biggest news you missed this weekend," 17 June 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

13 Jun 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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