undergird

verb
un·​der·​gird | \ ˌən-dər-ˈgərd How to pronounce undergird (audio) \
undergirded; undergirding; undergirds

Definition of undergird

transitive verb

1 archaic : to make secure underneath took measures to undergird the ship — Acts 27:17 (Revised Standard Version)
2 : to form the basis or foundation of : strengthen, support facts and statistics subtly undergird his commentary— Susan Q. Stranahan

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Did You Know?

The English verb gird means, among other things, "to encircle or bind with a flexible band." When undergird first entered English in the 16th century it meant "to make secure underneath," as by passing a rope or chain underneath something (such as a ship). That literal sense has long since fallen out of use, but in the 19th century undergird picked up the figurative "strengthen" or "support" sense that we still use. Gird and consequently undergird both derive from the Old English geard, meaning "enclosure" or "yard." Gird also gives us girder, a noun referring to a horizontal piece supporting a structure.

Examples of undergird in a Sentence

the theory of evolution undergirds virtually all of modern biology

Recent Examples on the Web

Their reluctance to speak highlights the tensions that undergird public discussion around the Amin regime today. Richard Vokes, Quartz Africa, "A recently discovered trove of photos shows life in Uganda during Idi Amin’s troubled reign," 30 June 2019 Their reluctance to speak highlights the tensions that undergird public discussion around the Amin regime today. Richard Vokes, Quartz Africa, "A recently discovered trove of photos shows life in Uganda during Idi Amin’s troubled reign," 30 June 2019 Finally, this effort would give President Trump a spectacular opportunity to perform as a statesman, exercise his diplomatic skills, and undergird them with both U.S. power and that of our allies — from Europe to Asia. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "Trump Should Assemble a Multinational Naval Convoy," 28 June 2019 Their reluctance to speak highlights the tensions that undergird public discussion around the Amin regime today. Richard Vokes, The Conversation, "Thousands of recently discovered photographs document life in Uganda during Idi Amin’s reign," 25 June 2019 The subways are also a key element in the subplot that many observers see undergirding the governor’s current fury with City Hall: the emergent candidacy of the actress Cynthia Nixon as a primary challenger to Mr. Cuomo. Vivian Wang And Jesse Mckinley, New York Times, "In New York Budget, a Fusillade Against de Blasio," 31 Mar. 2018 What this will mean for French republicanism, the secular ideology that undergirds the state and the educational system, is unclear. Mark Lilla, The New York Review of Books, "How to Write About the Right: An Exchange," 17 Jan. 2019 Where Monster offered lyrical aggression undergirded by musical darkness, Beast Mode and its sequel present a more fluid aural and emotional landscape. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Cathartic Symphony of Future’s Beast Mode 2," 6 July 2018 Michael, this argument about abolish ICE, which undergirds what Nancy's talking about here, it's exploded across the country. Fox News, "Media downplay Trump administration's economic successes," 28 July 2018

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

1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for undergird

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for undergird

The first known use of undergird was in 1526

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More Definitions for undergird

undergird

verb

English Language Learners Definition of undergird

chiefly US : to strengthen or support (something) from below

More from Merriam-Webster on undergird

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with undergird

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for undergird

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