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[uhn-der-hwelm, -welm] /ˌʌn dərˈʰwɛlm, -ˈwɛlm/
verb (used with object), Informal.
to fail to interest or astonish:
After all the ballyhoo, most critics were underwhelmed by the movie.
Origin of underwhelm
1945-50; under- + (over)whelm Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for underwhelm
  • Should they continue to underwhelm in the coming months, investors are likely to withdraw their money.
  • So the general rule when it comes to learning and memory is underwhelm, don't overwhelm.
British Dictionary definitions for underwhelm


(transitive) to make no positive impact or impression on; disappoint
Word Origin
C20: originally a humorous coinage based on overwhelm
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 underwhelm

1953 (implied in underwhelming), a facetious play on overwhelm. Related: Underwhelmed; underwhelmingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for underwhelm

under the wire


Done just before deadline; at the last minute: turned in under the wire

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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