• synonyms


[uhn-der-hwelm, -welm]
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verb (used with object) Informal.
  1. to fail to interest or astonish: After all the ballyhoo, most critics were underwhelmed by the movie.
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Origin of underwhelm

First recorded in 1945–50; under- + (over)whelm
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for underwhelmed


  1. (tr) to make no positive impact or impression on; disappoint
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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

Word Origin and History for underwhelmed



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper