Definition of underwhelm
: to fail to impress or stimulate the movie underwhelmed most reviewers
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Recent Examples of underwhelm from the Web
Palestinians were underwhelmed by a series of confidence-building measures Israel proposed on the eve of Trump’s visit, Mustafa said.
Aldridge missed 10 of 17 shots, struggled to exploit the Warriors’ double teams by finding the open man and was generally underwhelming at a time when he was needed most.
But since making his major league debut in 2014, Montero has underwhelmed.
The Falcons have one of the highest-scoring offenses ever, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is on an all-time roll, and both defenses tend to underwhelm.
Virtual reality will underwhelm, artificial intelligence will feel annoyingly unintelligent, and cars and drones that navigate themselves will seem safer when parked.
But the examples of Homer's strategic insights offered by Netscape's senior executives tend to underwhelm.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underwhelm'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Overwhelm and its rare synonym "whelm" have both been around since the 14th century, but "underwhelm" first appeared in print in 1949. Both "overwhelm" and "whelm" are derived from the Middle English "whelmen," which is perhaps an alteration of "whelmen" ("to turn over" or "to cover up"). "Underwhelm" is fashioned after "overwhelm" and probably originated as a playful alteration intended as a mildly humorous way of describing something unimpressive. More than one person claims the distinction of having invented "underwhelm"; several sources attribute it to the playwright George S. Kaufman, but sports columnist Red Smith is quoted as believing he coined the word himself, and still other sources cite other potential creators. Chances are that the word was in fact coined by more than one inventive writer.
Origin and Etymology of underwhelm
under + overwhelm
First Known Use: 1934See Words from the same year
UNDERWHELM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of underwhelm for English Language Learners
: to fail to impress (someone)
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