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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
First recorded in 1805-15; under- + estimate
Related forms
underestimation, noun
1. undervalue, underrate, misjudge, miscalculate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for underestimate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It would be for most people, but I think you underestimate your cheek, as you call it.

  • You underestimate your favors, if you fancy they are easily forgotten!

    The Strollers Frederic S. Isham
  • Oh, not that I underestimate the home women or the sheltered women.

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley
  • It is obvious that at about that time everybody was inclined to underestimate his chances.

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
  • Bidwell did not underestimate his importance in this rush of gold-frenzied men.

    They of the High Trails

    Hamlin Garland
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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