underlie

verb

un·​der·​lie ˌən-dər-ˈlī How to pronounce underlie (audio)

transitive verb

1
: to lie or be situated under
2
: to be at the basis of : form the foundation of : support
ideas underlying the revolution
3
: to exist as a claim or security superior and prior to (another)
4
archaic : to be subject or amenable to

Examples of underlie in a Sentence

A tile floor underlies the rug. The river is underlain by limestone. We discussed the principles that underlay their methods. A theme of revenge underlies much of her writing.
Recent Examples on the Web Sceptical economists like Diego Giacomini suggest this budget surplus is absolutely unsustainable without underlying reforms which have been ruled out by the level of bellicosity between the Executive, the legislative branch and the provincial governments. Agustino Fontevecchia, Forbes, 30 Mar. 2024 Bird said Microsoft and OpenAI are dedicated to deploying AI safely and building protections into the large language models underlying generative AI. Jackie Davalos, Fortune, 29 Mar. 2024 This acts as a shield, so certain questions never even reach the underlying AI model. Maxwell Zeff and Thomas Germain / Gizmodo, Quartz, 29 Mar. 2024 Prina Shah Color cycles and ancient Indian teachings also underlie Prina Shah’s mixed-media paintings, whose intricate details revolve in hundreds of concentric circles. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2024 But at the same time, vetting is only as good as the underlying information that a migrant's identifies are being vetted against. CBS News, 24 Mar. 2024 Pixel 7a, 7, and 7 Pro Specs Despite the price differences, many of the phones' underlying specs are surprisingly similar. Rob Pegoraro, PCMAG, 21 Mar. 2024 This metric underlies the global Future 50 list, which, since its first publication in 2017, has highlighted the most vital public companies around the world each year. Fang Ruan, Fortune Asia, 20 Mar. 2024 The eagerness to arrive at reconciliation softens the underlying conflict. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'underlie.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of underlie was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near underlie

Cite this Entry

“Underlie.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underlie. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

underlie

verb
un·​der·​lie ˌən-dər-ˈlī How to pronounce underlie (audio)
underlay -ˈlā How to pronounce underlie (audio) ; underlain -ˈlān How to pronounce underlie (audio) ; underlying -ˈlī-iŋ How to pronounce underlie (audio)
1
: to lie or be located under
2
: to form the foundation of : support
ideas underlying the revolution
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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