• synonyms


[verb uhn-der-es-tuh-meyt; noun uhn-der-es-tuh-mit, -meyt]
See more synonyms for underestimate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), un·der·es·ti·mat·ed, un·der·es·ti·mat·ing.
  1. to estimate at too low a value, rate, or the like.
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verb (used without object), un·der·es·ti·mat·ed, un·der·es·ti·mat·ing.
  1. to make an estimate lower than that which would be correct.
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  1. an estimate that is too low.
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Origin of underestimate

First recorded in 1805–15; under- + estimate
Related formsun·der·es·ti·ma·tion, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for underestimation

Historical Examples

  • Which, all things considered, was an underestimation of what ensued hard on the heels of his announcement.

    The Glory of The Coming

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • It was an underestimation so great that in the light of developments it will some day prove ridiculous.

  • In the case of interval A the error is one of underestimation in twenty-seven cases; in none is it an error of overestimation.

  • In the case of interval B the error is one of overestimation in seventeen instances, of underestimation in two.

  • The explanation of this illusion on the simple basis of underestimation or overestimation of angles is open to criticism.

    Visual Illusions

    Matthew Luckiesh

British Dictionary definitions for underestimation


verb (tr)
  1. to make too low an estimate ofhe underestimated the cost
  2. to think insufficiently highly ofto underestimate a person
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noun (ˌʌndərˈɛstɪmɪt)
  1. too low an estimate
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Derived Formsunderestimation, noun


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

Word Origin and History for underestimation



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper