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verb un·der·mine \ˌən-dər-ˈmīn\

Simple Definition of undermine

  • : to make (someone or something) weaker or less effective usually in a secret or gradual way

Full Definition of undermine

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to excavate the earth beneath :  form a mine under :  sap

  3. 2 :  to wash away supporting material from under

  4. 3 :  to subvert or weaken insidiously or secretly <trying to undermine his political rivals>

  5. 4 :  to weaken or ruin by degrees

Examples of undermine

  1. She tried to undermine my authority by complaining about me to my boss.

  2. The events of the past year have undermined people's confidence in the government.

14th Century

First Known Use of undermine

14th century

Synonym Discussion of undermine

weaken, enfeeble, debilitate, undermine, sap, cripple, disable mean to lose or cause to lose strength or vigor. weaken may imply loss of physical strength, health, soundness, or stability or of quality, intensity, or effective power <a disease that weakens the body's defenses> . enfeeble implies an obvious and pitiable condition of weakness and helplessness <enfeebled by starvation>. debilitate suggests a less marked or more temporary impairment of strength or vitality <the debilitating effects of surgery>. undermine and sap suggest a weakening by something working surreptitiously and insidiously <a poor diet undermines your health> <drugs had sapped his ability to think>. cripple implies causing a serious loss of functioning power through damaging or removing an essential part or element <crippled by arthritis>. disable suggests a usually sudden crippling or enfeebling <disabled soldiers received an immediate discharge>.

Seen and Heard

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February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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