un·​der·​cur·​rent | \ ˈən-dər-ˌkər-ənt How to pronounce undercurrent (audio) , -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

There’s an undercurrent of volatility in the neighborhood, but that hasn’t slowed its restaurant and bar boom. Justin Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, "New sports bar is the latest entrant to Uptown Oakland," 8 Mar. 2018 There are at least two reasons for the dark emotional undercurrent of much of this music, each quite clear in Davis’ mind. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Saxophonist Caroline Davis goes deep with 'Heart Tonic'," 19 Apr. 2018 An undercurrent of sleek sophistication permeates the space and its menus. Andrea Bennett, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips from Las Vegas," 5 Mar. 2018 Over time, the pianist may make more of the emotional undercurrents in the piece, or bring more exuberance to the final Allegro. Barbara Jepson, WSJ, "A Master of the Virtuosic Miniature in New York," 24 Jan. 2019 The streets where Elena and Lila play and the shops where their parents buy food are controlled by small-time criminals, and their power struggles are a constant undercurrent in both the show and books. Anna North, Vox, "My Brilliant Friend pulls back the curtain on women’s lives. What it reveals is dark and violent.," 20 Nov. 2018 Blondes, in particular, tread a nuanced line—aiming for a certain Bond girl tawniness while retaining a spiritual undercurrent of sunniness. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Behati Prinsloo Has the Perfect Shade of Victoria's Secret Blonde for Next Week's Show," 31 Oct. 2018 The lack of new jobs has driven a powerful undercurrent of pessimism among young Tunisians. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Nation That Sparked Arab Spring Finds Itself a Springboard for Illegal Migration," 27 Aug. 2018 But the year’s big events were parts of much more fundamental forces: deep social and political undercurrents that are profoundly changing 21st-century American society. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 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

6 Mar 2019

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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 How to pronounce undercurrent (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on undercurrent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with undercurrent

Spanish Central: Translation of undercurrent

Nglish: Translation of undercurrent for Spanish Speakers

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