Other than one being to lick, any difference between the 2 for underestimating?


舐める is slangy and should be avoided in very formal contexts. Its meaning is closer to "to look down" rather than "to underestimate." 舐める often also has a connotation of behaving disrespectfully/insolently to someone/something.

侮る is a relatively literary word and typically used in a set phrase "侮るなかれ" or "侮ることなかれ". It's probably safer than 舐める, but still has a connotation of making light of something/someone.

過小評価する is a neutral and politically safer word for "to underestimate," which does not imply any disrespectful attitude.

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  • Thank you! If 舐める is slangy then you mean the official dictionary meaning is not 'to underestimate' and is just a proper word that people gave an informal meaning to over time? – shoryuu Nov 23 '17 at 3:31
  • @shoryuu Yes, the original meaning of 舐める is "to lick," which is safe in formal contexts. The derivative, slangy sense is "to look down", "to make light of", "to take the piss", etc., which you should use with care. – naruto Nov 23 '17 at 3:47

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