un·​der·​bel·​ly | \ ˈən-dər-ˌbe-lē How to pronounce underbelly (audio) \

Definition of underbelly

1 : a vulnerable area also : a corrupt or sordid part probing the underbelly of the entertainment industry
2 : the underside of a body or mass

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Examples of underbelly in a Sentence

They exposed the underbelly of the nation's economic policy. the sordid underbelly of city life
Recent Examples on the Web Rather than being the ticket to the higher potential that wellness culture seems to promise, Lee’s practices took her to a dark place, shining light on the sinister underbelly of the wellness industry. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Lee From America's Fall From Wellness: What Happens When Wellness Goes Too Far," 27 Jan. 2020 When young people and others commit acts of crime, their behavior often reflects the underbelly of trauma. Erica Ford, Essence, "Reducing Gun Violence By Healing Trauma," 10 July 2019 Is this an alternate world or the underbelly of our own? Los Angeles Times, "Max Hooper Schneider at the Hammer and more museums shows in SoCal this week," 3 Jan. 2020 Director Gerard Johnson previously explored London's brutal criminal underbelly in Tony (2009) and Hyena (2014). Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Muscle': Film Review," 25 Dec. 2019 The site was on the darknet, the underbelly of the deep web which cannot be accessed by a regular browser. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "How Bitcoin transactions were used to track down the 23-year-old South Korean operating a global child exploitation site from his bedroom," 19 Oct. 2019 In the midst of highlighting the criminal underbelly of the female have-nots, Scafaria carefully weaves a complex, thoughtful story of friendship—and neither element undercuts the other. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Hustlers Weaponizes the Female Gaze," 16 Sep. 2019 But here, in a space with unfinished floors and ceilings, in the underbelly of the Watergate, these objects are not so much elevated as they are entirely recontextualized. Washington Post, "World-class conceptual art pops up in a vacant bank at the Watergate," 14 Nov. 2019 But the Astros put too much pressure on opponents, take too good of at-bats, and ultimately expose the weakest underbelly of their opponents. Usa Today Sports, USA TODAY, "World Series predictions: Astros are heavy favorites over Nationals," 18 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underbelly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of underbelly

1942, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for underbelly

Time Traveler

The first known use of underbelly was in 1942

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Statistics for underbelly

Last Updated

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Underbelly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underbelly. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for underbelly


How to pronounce underbelly (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of underbelly

: the bottom part of an object or an animal's body
: an area that is easy to attack or criticize
: a part of society, an organization, etc., that is hidden and usually unpleasant

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