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"

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    Possible duplicate of Word for not obscure but not mainstream
    – NVZ
    Apr 18, 2022 at 0:49
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    "Underrated" does not mean "Not liked enough". Apr 18, 2022 at 2:12
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    The last part of the last sentence in your question -- "more people should know about it" -- actually makes me think underrated is the word you want. Apr 18, 2022 at 13:11
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    Single word requests should be accompanied by an example sentence showing how the word will be used.
    – Greybeard
    Apr 18, 2022 at 16:38
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    Can you elaborate on why you think "underrated" means "not liked enough"? It doesn't mean that, but if you explain why you think it does, and why it's not the word you're looking for, we may have a better chance of helping you.
    – Marthaª
    Apr 18, 2022 at 19:50

9 Answers 9


Underappreciated (adj)

not appreciated or valued enough

"Her work is underappreciated by the critics. an underappreciated talent"

The Britannica Dictionary

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    I don't know why this is downvoted, it's the perfect answer.
    – minseong
    Apr 18, 2022 at 17:24
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    Related: undervalued (if the OP is talking about an object)
    – Joe Kerr
    Apr 18, 2022 at 17:48
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    @theonlygusti Because it is underappreciated
    – Zayn
    Apr 18, 2022 at 18:29
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    Because ‘underappreciated’ is nearly synonymous with ‘underrated’, from which the asker specifically wanted to distinguish. Apr 19, 2022 at 8:01

overlooked (adj.)

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:

  1. (photography) To take a photograph using too small an exposure
  2. 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.

  1. To represent something as being lower or smaller than is the case.
  2. 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.

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    But "obscure" is also used for things that nobody thinks should be more popular.
    – Laurel
    Apr 18, 2022 at 0:49


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.



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    Welcome to ELU. Please support answers with references from reputable sources, even if the word you suggest appears obvious to you.
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 18, 2022 at 11:49
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    "unpopular" just means "not popular", though; there's no sense here of something deserving to be more popular.
    – Hearth
    Apr 19, 2022 at 14:05

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.”

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