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

Definition of underreact

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, "Coronavirus Needs a Free Press," 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, "Pro-Life, or Not, in a Pandemic," 26 Mar. 2020 Some people will underreact to warnings no matter what. Adam Sobel, New York Times, "A Storm Expert’s View: What Lessons Can We Apply From Hurricanes to the Coronavirus?," 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, "How Bad Will the Coronavirus Outbreak Be?," 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, "Other voices: The rebuke to Trump that both parties should deliver," 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, "What Science Says About Why You're Stressed and How to Cope," 21 June 2019 Your biggest mistakes will come from overreacting to the latest stock swings, not underreacting. Shlomo Benartzi, WSJ, "The High Financial Price of Our Short Attention Spans," 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, "Comedy / Film / Foreign The Other Side of Hope is a career-best achievement for Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki," 9 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underreact.' 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 underreact

1965, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of underreact was in 1965

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Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Underreact.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underreact. Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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