[ uhn-der-hwelm, -welm ]
/ ˌʌn dərˈʰwɛlm, -ˈwɛlm /
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verb (used with object) Informal.
to fail to interest or astonish: After all the ballyhoo, most critics were underwhelmed by the movie.
THINGAMABOB OR THINGUMMY: CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE US AND UK TERMS IN THIS QUIZ?
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
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In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…
Origin of underwhelm
First recorded in 1945–50; under- + (over)whelm
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use underwhelm in a sentence
Now let's take a quick survey of the blockbusters that have underwhelmed this summer at the box office.Is the Summer Blockbuster Dead?|Kevin Fallon|July 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Maria “Macarena” Paz, a Caracas engineer, is underwhelmed by this explanation.Who Will Maduro Blame for Venezuela’s Blackout This Time?|Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez|June 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
So far, pretty much every one of those promised improvements has underwhelmed, and the skeptics have been vindicated."Pioneer" Health Care Plans Circle the Wagons Against Pay-for-Performance|Megan McArdle|March 4, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Clearly the Academy was underwhelmed by the eligible songs this year.The Oscars: 21 Fixes for the Show So It’s Less Boring|Evan Shapiro|February 20, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Call me a snob, but I was prepared to be underwhelmed by the food.Gal with a Suitcase|Jolie Hunt|April 18, 2010|DAILY BEAST
British Dictionary definitions for underwhelm
/ (ˌʌndəˈwɛlm) /
(tr) to make no positive impact or impression on; disappoint
Word Origin for underwhelm
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