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[verb uhn-der-es-tuh-meyt; noun uhn-der-es-tuh-mit, -meyt] /verb ˌʌn dərˈɛs təˌmeɪt; noun ˌʌn dərˈɛs tə mɪt, -ˌmeɪt/
verb (used with object), underestimated, underestimating.
to estimate at too low a value, rate, or the like.
verb (used without object), underestimated, underestimating.
to make an estimate lower than that which would be correct.
an estimate that is too low.
Origin of underestimate
1805-15; under- + estimate
Related forms
underestimation, noun
1. undervalue, underrate, misjudge, miscalculate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for underestimate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Not once, I think, did he underestimate the strength of his foes.

  • It would be for most people, but I think you underestimate your cheek, as you call it.

  • He was too shrewd, too 291 thoroughly familiar with all the elements making up Chicago, to underestimate his enemy.

    Little Lost Sister Virginia Brooks
  • You underestimate your favors, if you fancy they are easily forgotten!

    The Strollers Frederic S. Isham
  • We underestimate, too, the kind of experience which is essential for intelligent citizenship in this outer circle.

British Dictionary definitions for underestimate


verb (transitive)
to make too low an estimate of: he underestimated the cost
to think insufficiently highly of: to underestimate a person
noun (ˌʌndərˈɛstɪmɪt)
too low an estimate
Derived Forms
underestimation, noun
Usage note
Underestimate is sometimes wrongly used where overestimate is meant: the importance of his work cannot be overestimated (not cannot be underestimated)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for underestimate

1812, "to estimate at too low an amount," from under + estimate (v.). Meaning "to rank too low, undervalue" is recorded from 1850. Related: Underestimated; underestimating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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