un·​der·​re·​act ˌən-dər-rē-ˈakt How to pronounce underreact (audio)
underreacted; underreacting; underreacts

intransitive verb

: to react with less than appropriate force or intensity

Examples of underreact in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web President Xi Jinping’s leadership is being tested, but so is the argument that a regime that at first underreacted now is overreacting. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, 11 Feb. 2020 Americans are loudly divided over the question of whether the nation is overreacting or underreacting to the pandemic. Nicholas Frankovich, National Review, 26 Mar. 2020 Some people will underreact to warnings no matter what. Adam Sobel, New York Times, 19 Mar. 2020 Desperate times call for desperate measures, and China has gone from underreacting and suppressing information to quarantining an entire region of close to 60 million people. Marc Siegel, National Review, 5 Feb. 2020 To put it bluntly, House Democrats are overreacting while Republicans are underreacting — pretending there’s nothing to criticize in Trump’s behavior. Chicago Tribune, Twin Cities, 18 Dec. 2019 Meanwhile, recent studies show that people who underreact to stress are more likely to have impulsive behavior and substance addiction. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, 21 June 2019 Your biggest mistakes will come from overreacting to the latest stock swings, not underreacting. Shlomo Benartzi, WSJ, 21 Oct. 2018 Like Khaled, Wikström chronically underreacts to everything around him, though the effect is comic as opposed to bittersweet. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, 9 Jan. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'underreact.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1965, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of underreact was in 1965

Dictionary Entries Near underreact

Cite this Entry

“Underreact.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underreact. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

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