un·​der·​bel·​ly | \ˈən-dər-ˌbe-lē \

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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Synonyms & Antonyms for underbelly


bottom, underbody, underpart, underside, undersurface


face, top

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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

The underbelly of the lineup is divided between rising acts in rock (Pvris, Japanese Breakfast, Jay Som) and dance (JLin, Yaeji, Helena Hauff). Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "15 Pop Music Festivals to Catch This Summer," 17 May 2018 This is because Pein starts from the grimy underbelly of tech and never makes it out, which accurately reflects the experience of many tech workers. Nikil Saval, New York Times, "The Fate of Most Silicon Valley Drones: ‘Live Work Work Work Die’," 25 May 2018 The same developer behind Geralt’s brooding, sword-and-magic adventures has now emerged with a first-person, shotgun-crazy, branching-narrative, hack-the-world, exploding-limbs dive into the criminal underbelly of near-future Los Angeles. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Cyberpunk 2077 world premiere: 50 minutes of William Gibson-level insanity," 14 June 2018 The short answer is that until Cambridge Analytica exposed this underbelly of Facebook’s open API, all of this was a feature, not a bug, for Facebook. Aja Romano, Vox, "Facebook warns “most users” have had their data harvested by third-party apps," 5 Apr. 2018 After Buffy ended, Noxon went on to work on two seasons of Mad Men, created the anti-romantic comedy Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce for Bravo, and co-created the series UnREAL, which exposes the dark underbelly of making reality TV. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "On AMC, ‘Dietland’ serves up a revenge fantasy for the era of MeToo.," 12 June 2018 While working as the restaurant, Bourdain sent an article to the New Yorker exposing trade secrets and the dark underbelly of the restaurant world. Rob Tornoe, Philly.com, "Anthony Bourdain dead: Barack Obama posts touching tribute, Eric Ripert mourns loss of 'a dear friend'," 8 June 2018 The Dark Web is the digital underbelly of the Internet. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "FBI raid revealed 30 cellphones. Sex offender used them to ‘cover his tracks,’ FBI says," 4 June 2018 The armor on the top side of her trunk was thick, latticed in a pattern of rectangles sweeping down to the underbelly, which was full and soft. Jason Florio, Smithsonian, "The Dangerous Work of Relocating 5,000-Pound Rhinos," 22 May 2018

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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Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for underbelly

The first known use of underbelly was in 1942

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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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Comments on underbelly

What made you want to look up underbelly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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