We have a word "underrated", which essentially means "not liked enough". I was wondering if there was a single word meaning "not popular enough". When searching online, the only word that came up was "unknown". As far as I can tell, it doesn't exactly mean what I want - even though it means that few people know about something, there is no underlaying message that says "more people should know about it"
not appreciated or valued enough
"Her work is underappreciated by the critics. an underappreciated talent"
Not seen, noticed, or considered
As well as revisiting the traditional narratives of politics and war, historians are now becoming more interested in previously overlooked histories—especially those of class and gender. — Mary McAuliffe
But sometimes the simplest fixes are also the most overlooked. — David Posey m-w
Two most important considerations should be mentioned at once, however; for they are almost uniformly overlooked, not only in the popular analysis, but also in the analysis of many psychologists. George Ladd; Outlines of Descriptive Psychology (1898)
That the themes of recognition and identity have gone largely unnoticed in Mozart's [La Finta] Giardiniera is hardly surprising; they have also been overlooked in Mozart's later and more famous operas. Jessica Waldoff; Recognition in Mozart's Operas (2006)
Because they are often overlooked and deserve attention, in this book I spend more time describing cones and inconspicuous tree flowers than I spend describing conspicuous tree flowers. Nancy Hugo; Seeing Trees (2011)
Another founder undeservedly overlooked by Hollywood is James Monroe (1817–1825), perhaps because his presidency is associated with the Missouri Compromise of 1820, whose attempt to strike a balance between the number of slave and free states postponed sectional confrontation but ultimately made it inevitable. Iwan Moran; Presidents in the Movies (2011)
underexposed, meaning 2 in Wiktionary:
- (photography) To take a photograph using too small an exposure
- To provide with insufficient publicity
You could equally well try underrecognised or under-publicised.
In some contexts, underrepresented may be adequate, but this is a bit more of a stretch of meaning.
- To represent something as being lower or smaller than is the case.
- To give something insufficient or inadequate representation.
not known to many people:
I cite it because it is the word I see routinely used to refer to works that aren't as popular as the writer thinks they should be.
This gets used a lot in the music industry, but also elsewhere.
Undiscovered talent, or genius, means it is not broadly known, but ought to be better known. For example, radio stations for DJ's often want to present audiences with undiscovered artists.
This usage is different than undiscovered elements or planets, which are considered "discovered" once anyone knows about them.
I'm sorry if this is an unpopular answer.
Adding the prefix "un" to the front of a word can reverse its meaning.
Suitable - Unsuitable Available - Unavailable
Some words seem to lend themselves better to the reversal than others. According to a Google nhram search, unpopular was used more widely in books in the early 1900's than it is today. Hence my opening comment.
If the sort of "popularity" you have in mind relates to making use of something, rather than simply being aware of it -- e.g., a word that you wish people would say more often -- you might say underused:
: not fully used : having more potential than is currently being realized or utilized
(Or underutilized, which is essentially synonymous.)
Well, having read the question a couple times, I gotta ask; In your context, is the "underrated" object discounted just because people don't know about it, or is it because they don't care and are ambivalent to it?
I mean, we can go straight to "dislike" or "disapprove" if no one cares for it, but if it is just because no one knows about it, then you can start looking at words like "underground", "hidden" or even "obscure" as proffered above.
Adjectives include (in decreasing order of severity), Ostracised (“Exiled from a group by common consent”), marginalized (“relegated to an unimportant or powerless position within a group”) and sidelined.
Nouns include pariah (“one that is despised or rejected,” although this was formerly used for a real group of people), outcast (“one that is cast out or refused acceptance, as by society”) or persona non grata. (“A person who is unacceptable or unwelcome.”)
A much milder phrase, for someone who doesn’t fit in, but is still allowed to participate, is “the odd one out.”