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[v. uhn-der-es-tuh-meyt; n. uhn-der-es-tuh-mit, -meyt] /v. ˌʌn dərˈɛs təˌmeɪt; n. 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
  • Never underestimate the importance of those you're speaking with.
  • Never underestimate the power of a springtime allergy.
  • My own globe-trotting experience says that one should never underestimate the problems of language and culture.
  • Don't underestimate the importance of knowing people who know people who might hire you.
  • And don't underestimate the positive effects of exercise.
  • Don't underestimate the value of a simple idea, though.
  • Let us not underestimate the power of private universities in the overall landscape of higher education.
  • They induce people to underestimate the number of calories they are eating.
  • We badly underestimate how vital and how interesting some of those conversations can end up being.
  • But don't underestimate the power of the delayed launch, either.
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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