Definition of underwhelm in US English:



[with object]usually be underwhelmed
  • Fail to impress or make a positive impact on (someone); disappoint.

    ‘American voters seem underwhelmed by the choices for president’
    • ‘Although there were a couple of surprises I was still underwhelmed.’
    • ‘So I was distinctly underwhelmed when a colleague smugly confided that he was a dream date ‘because he cook’.’
    • ‘But while most audiences loved the movies, critics were underwhelmed.’
    • ‘His second reaction is to look distinctly underwhelmed by it all.’
    • ‘Like most people, I don't have huge objections to the budget, but I'm also underwhelmed by it.’
    • ‘Strangely enough most business people seemed to be somewhat underwhelmed by his package of adjustments to excise duties on fuel, booze and vehicles.’
    • ‘It had been a year since the last time I ventured in, however, and when I ate here last month, I must confess I was underwhelmed by the experience.’
    • ‘I was underwhelmed, but if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you like.’
    • ‘I was underwhelmed by the sauce and felt it lacked any real garlic punch.’
    • ‘I get the distinct impression Adam wanted me to be elated; I'm underwhelmed.’
    • ‘I found it amusing, but as in mildly; and I was underwhelmed by the music.’
    • ‘In the end, even some of the delegates were underwhelmed by the outcome.’
    • ‘I suppose I should be excited but like most people, I suspect, I'd have to admit to being somewhat underwhelmed.’
    • ‘I was rather underwhelmed by his responses, and disappointed that I didn't feel more challenged.’
    • ‘Reviewing the Senator's own proposals, however, I'm thoroughly underwhelmed.’
    • ‘I hate to be the first to say it but I was really underwhelmed by this film.’
    • ‘Some analysts were underwhelmed, suggesting that because of the joint marketing, there would be little scope for significant cost-savings.’
    • ‘The film didn't disappoint me - there are too many great lines and nice little moments to make the film a disappointment - but it did underwhelm me.’
    • ‘Initially, I was underwhelmed to say the least.’
    • ‘I was underwhelmed frankly, but then I am a bad tempered old cow.’
    unsatisfactory, inadequate, insufficient, unworthy, substandard, not good enough
    View synonyms


1950s: suggested by overwhelm.