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

Despite the confidence, Clark preaches not to underestimate opponents and has been proven right more than once. Evan Dudley, al, "UAB readies for season opener against Alabama State," 26 Aug. 2019 So robustly do people underestimate nonwhites’ experience of pain that, according to one study, pharmacies in nonwhite neighborhoods understock opioid analgesics compared to pharmacies in primarily white neighborhoods. K.n.c., The Economist, "Societies are tearing apart, but they can be brought together," 14 Aug. 2019 So many people underestimate and undervalue time in (the game). Cindy Boren, The Denver Post, "Who is Kyle Giersdorf, the 16-year-old who won $3 million in the Fortnite World Cup?," 29 July 2019 So, what’s the quality about you that people underestimate? Eric Johnson, Vox, "In 10 years, every “relevant” company will be a tech company, Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake says," 24 July 2019 The point is, underestimate how much of a kingmaker Netflix has been and arguably will continue to be at your own peril. Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Tim Goodman: A Bad Week Won't Kill Netflix," 23 July 2019 After Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space in April 1961, Americans knew better than to underestimate Soviet capability. David A. Taylor, Smithsonian, "From the Family Station Wagon to the Apollo Lunar Rover, My Dad’s Engineering Talent Had No Limits," 9 July 2019 This approach has the potential to significantly underestimate the true impact of the treatments. STAT, "Assessing the value of new food allergy treatments must include quality of life," 20 June 2019 People wildly underestimate the odds that others will help us, says social psychologist Heidi Grant. Angela Chen, The Verge, "A social psychologist explains why we should ask for help more often," 22 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

19 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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