un·der·cur·rent | \ ˈən-dər-ˌkər-ənt , -ˌkə-rənt \

Definition of undercurrent 

1 : a current below the upper currents or surface

2 : a hidden opinion, feeling, or tendency often contrary to the one publicly shown

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Other words from undercurrent

undercurrent adjective

Examples of undercurrent in a Sentence

You could be pulled under water by the dangerous undercurrents.

Recent Examples on the Web

Despite all the frivolity afoot, there was definitely an undercurrent of something darker and more sinister too. Adam Tschorn, latimes.com, "It's haute harlequins and ringmaster chic at Moschino's circus-themed Burbank runway show," 13 June 2018 The Miami Dolphins plan to be patient in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night, letting the undercurrent of this draft settle before making a move. Omar Kelly, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Dolphins focused on being patient with first-round selection," 26 Apr. 2018 Velocity, or the pace of reforms (see: single-payer health care), and vision, the ability to articulate a coherent plan, will be the undercurrents that drive those debates. Gregory Krieg, CNN, "Cuomo vs. Nixon is a preview of the 2020 Democratic primary," 30 Mar. 2018 Plenty of players and coaches have gotten along on the surface, even amid an undercurrent of discontent about playing time. Ira Winderman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "ASK IRA: Will détente work for Spoelstra and Whiteside?," 12 July 2018 In this moment, though, there is no good use for the undercurrent of despair beneath the tidal wave of anger that accompanied the rejections. Marcus Hayes, Philly.com, "Sixers weren't ready for LeBron James or Paul George | Marcus Hayes," 4 July 2018 Bittinger said the water by the dam looks calm but there is a strong undercurrent. Lou Whitmire, USA TODAY, "18-year-old Ohio woman dies after being sucked through dam spillway," 14 June 2018 In its first four years, Silicon Valley had another main character to give voice to the undercurrent of ego among its cast of coders—Erlich Bachman, the bloviating venture capitalist played by T.J. Miller. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Silicon Valley Explores the Darker Side of the Industry," 26 Mar. 2018 Where Dicterow’s performance proved musical but bland, fluent but unconcerned with the jazz undercurrent of the work’s finale, Bell’s account was tonally radiant, profoundly lyrical and unflagging in emotional intensity. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "CSO at Ravinia review: Marin Alsop poetically launches Bernstein tribute," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'undercurrent.' 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 undercurrent

1683, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

4 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for undercurrent

The first known use of undercurrent was in 1683

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More Definitions for undercurrent



English Language Learners Definition of undercurrent

: a flow of water that moves below the surface of the ocean or a river

: a hidden feeling or tendency that is usually different from the one that is easy to see or understand


un·der·cur·rent | \ ˈən-dər-ˌkər-ənt \

Kids Definition of undercurrent

1 : a flow of water that moves below the surface

2 : a hidden feeling or tendency often different from the one openly shown She sensed an undercurrent of dissatisfaction.

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