verb un·der·per·form \ ˌən-dər-pər-ˈfȯrm , -pə-ˈfȯrm \
|Updated on: 19 Jul 2018

Definition of underperform

underperformed; underperforming; underperforms
: to do worse than
: to fail to do as well as expected


play \ˌən-dər-pər-ˈfȯr-mən(t)s, -pə-ˈfȯr-\ noun



Examples of underperform in a Sentence

  1. The report shows which schools are underperforming.

Recent Examples of underperform from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underperform.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of underperform


in the meaning defined at transitive sense

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

Financial Definition of UNDERPERFORM


What It Is

The term underperform refers to an analyst recommendation that a stock is expected to do slightly worse than the overall market return.

How It Works

Analysts regularly evaluate and project stock performance.  Analysts may provide this service on behalf of a particular brokerage house, or for private clients, or even for public dissemination through reports and investment publications.    Analysts will evaluate the financial conditions of an underlying security and any competitive information available about the industry.  Based on this analysis, a stock may be described along a range from the lowest rating, "strong sell," (i.e. not expected to perform well or recover) to the highest rating, "strong buy" (i.e. big performance gains expected).  Analysts generally use the term "underperform" to refer to a stock that is fundamentally stable, but expected to perform below the market or industry sector to which the stock belongs.   The category “underperform” is alternatively referred to as "moderate sell" or "weak hold."

Why It Matters

Investors can gather valuable information from analysts' recommendations about particular stocks.  Not all analysts' recommendations are consistent or based on the same measures of a company's activities or expected performance.  Understanding and weighing varying recommendations is an important part of an investor's work.

UNDERPERFORM Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of underperform for English Language Learners

  • : to be less successful than expected or required

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


in proportion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism

  • test-your-emoji-exceptionalism-written-with-a-lot-of-emoji
  • What is this emoji intended to represent: 🤳
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!