underlie

verb un·der·lie \ ˌən-dər-ˈlī \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of underlie

underlay play \ˌən-dər-ˈlā\; underlain play \ˌən-dər-ˈlān\; underlying play \ˌən-dər-ˈlī-iŋ\
transitive verb
1 archaic :to be subject or amenable to
2 :to lie or be situated under
3 :to be at the basis of :form the foundation of :support
  • ideas underlying the revolution
4 :to exist as a claim or security superior and prior to (another)

Examples of underlie in a Sentence

  1. A tile floor underlies the rug.

  2. The river is underlain by limestone.

  3. We discussed the principles that underlay their methods.

  4. A theme of revenge underlies much of her writing.

Recent Examples of underlie from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underlie.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of underlie

before 12th century


UNDERLIE Defined for English Language Learners

underlie

verb

Definition of underlie for English Language Learners

  • : to lie or be located under (something)

  • : to form the basis or foundation of (an idea, a process, etc.)


UNDERLIE Defined for Kids

underlie

verb un·der·lie \ ˌən-dər-ˈlī \

Definition of underlie for Students

underlay \-ˈlā\; underlain \-ˈlān\; underlying \-ˈlī-iŋ\
1 :to lie or be located under
  • A tile floor underlies the rug.
2 :to form the foundation of :support
  • What ideals underlie democracy?


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