Definition of underweight in US English:



  • 1Below a weight considered normal or desirable.

    ‘he was thirty pounds underweight’
    • ‘Although being slightly underweight, outwardly Stacey appears to be just like any other 11-year-old.’
    • ‘A BMI under 18.5 indicates that you're underweight.’
    • ‘Shouldn't a GP investigate why a child is underweight, and share his or her concern with the parents?’
    • ‘Many entertainment celebrities are underweight, some anorexically so.’
    • ‘I assume your daughter is underweight, not just thin.’
    • ‘On examination, she was underweight (weight 2nd percentile, height 10th percentile).’
    • ‘She was still rather underweight at 100 pounds, okay, very underweight, but she ate healthily, exercised a normal amount and gained a ton of self-confidence.’
    • ‘A national poll of more than 2000 men asked whether they considered themselves underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.’
    • ‘Whether you are underweight, normally weighted or overweight, your eating solution can become a problem.’
    • ‘Higher levels of protein and calories may be needed in underweight horses, but should not be fed to normal or overweight horses.’
    • ‘She has an intense need for control and is scared of gaining weight even when extremely underweight.’
    • ‘In addition, research shows that teenage girls, particularly those who are underweight or dieting to lose weight, are not getting enough calcium.’
    • ‘Because he's been chronically underweight since before hitting puberty, his body is used to having to survive on unnaturally low weights, but there's a limit to how much it can take.’
    • ‘‘We will also start a child-weighing exercise because lots of under-five children are underweight,’ said Pastor Bill.’
    • ‘People who are under-nourished will not be eating enough and be underweight because their diet will not be providing them with enough energy.’
    • ‘I know I shouldn't complain because I can eat what I want and not gain weight, but it's not good being underweight.’
    • ‘A while back my sister made an effort to gain weight; her body mass index indicated that she was underweight.’
    • ‘I was a geeky, scrawny, underweight kid who liked strange music and didn't fit in at all.’
    • ‘Since then she had been in a re-hab centre and was now considered only slightly underweight.’
    • ‘Perhaps your exercise regime is too demanding, since your body mass index (height to weight ratio) suggests you're not underweight.’
    slim, lean, slender, rangy, willowy, svelte, sylphlike, spare, slight
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Finance Having less investment in a particular area than is considered desirable or appropriate.
      ‘the company is still underweight in Japan’
      ‘underweighted in technology’
      • ‘We are overweight in economy-sensitive stocks, technology, industrials and financials, and are underweight in utilities and telecoms - stock selection is becoming ever-more critical.’
      • ‘Last year we were underweight lodging stocks.’
      • ‘Although it recommended that investors switch to US shares, it still recommends that investors be underweight in US equities.’
      • ‘He is still underweight in technology stocks, which he considers expensive, and prefers traditional old economy businesses such as paper and steel.’
      • ‘Earnings estimates still have to come down and as a result we are underweight in technology stocks.’


[with object]
  • Apply too little weight to (something)

    ‘we feared the hot-air balloon had been underweighted’
    figurative ‘clinicians tend to overweight parent and underweight child information when deriving diagnoses’
    • ‘You might run your car underweight and then chose to put weight in different places.’
    • ‘But in the longer term there are supportive arguments for not aggressively underweighting the sector.’
    • ‘For such a strategy, an investor makes a forecast on an asset class or sector and overweights or underweights it accordingly.’
    • ‘Diving underweighted can lead to buoyant ascents at the end of the dive, so I am not advocating that everyone knocks a couple of kilos off the next time they dive.’
    • ‘The second question posed in this study asked whether groups composed of experienced individuals underweight base rate data.’
    • ‘In market parlance, they overweight the most recent information and underweight the information that came before.’
    • ‘The first question posed in this research asked whether individual HR managers would underweight base rate data.’
    • ‘Others target specific stocks that are in an index, overweighting those they think are especially undervalued and underweighting those thought to be too dear.’
    • ‘Then you would underweight technology stocks?’


  • Insufficient weight.

    • ‘They are just disqualified from the show ring because of underweight or overweight.’
    • ‘We used these early data together with information collected on cohort members at the age of 50 to explore the effects of childhood obesity and underweight on adult obesity and risk factors for disease.’
    • ‘One in ten parents expressed some concern about underweight in normal weight children.’
    • ‘Childhood undernutrition, defined as underweight or low-weight-for-age, is the leading risk factor contributing to the global burden of disease.’