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 Amid the rally cries that took place at Monday night’s Black Lives Matter protest in Irving, one undercurrent rose to the surface: a push for systemic change. Sam Bonacci, Dallas News, "Protesters in Irving demand ‘radical change’ to policing and government," 9 June 2020 Parsons said the protests sweeping the United States are being fueled by an undercurrent of economic discontent. Matt Egan, CNN, "How Dick Parsons overcame racism to become one of America's first black CEOs," 8 June 2020 The protests are about race and police brutality, but the undercurrent is also that the pandemic and jobs losses have hit African-American as well as Hispanics much more severely. Zachary Karabell, Time, "The May Jobs Report Doesn’t Say What We Think It Says," 8 June 2020 As protests against police brutality roil the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death, high unemployment among African Americans is likely fueling another undercurrent of frustration. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Black unemployment 2020: African Americans bear brunt of economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus," 4 June 2020 The phrase has become an undercurrent in the national political debate ever since. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Is America Becoming a Banana Republic?," 4 June 2020 The numbers are part of the undercurrent of the ongoing protests that started in Minneapolis, where protesters have amassed daily in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed under police custody. Michelle Cheng, Quartz, "A quick guide to unemployment rates, by race, in major US cities," 3 June 2020 Urban flooding has the potential to exacerbate the racial inequality that is an undercurrent of the nationwide protests over the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a black man in custody by Minneapolis police. Thomas Frank, Scientific American, "Flooding Disproportionately Harms Black Neighborhoods," 2 June 2020 Markets have mostly been in this kind of mood since mid-May, when the rally’s undercurrents shifted. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Are Memories of 2009 Adding Fuel to the Market Fire?," 5 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for undercurrent

Time Traveler

The first known use of undercurrent was in 1683

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Statistics for undercurrent

Last Updated

21 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Undercurrent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undercurrent. Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for undercurrent


How to pronounce undercurrent (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for undercurrent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with undercurrent

Spanish Central: Translation of undercurrent

Nglish: Translation of undercurrent for Spanish Speakers

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