un·​der·​line | \ ˈən-dər-ˌlīn How to pronounce underline (audio) , ˌən-dər-ˈlīn How to pronounce underline (audio) \
underlined; underlining; underlines

Definition of underline

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to mark (something, such as a word) with a line underneath
2 : to put emphasis on : stress
3 : to show clearly or emphatically


un·​der·​line | \ ˈən-dər-ˌlīn How to pronounce underline (audio) \

Definition of underline (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the outline of a quadruped's underbody also : the ventral surface of a quadruped's body
2 : a horizontal line placed underneath something

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for underline

Synonyms: Verb

accentuate, bring out, emphasize, italicize, stress, underscore

Antonyms: Verb


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of underline in a Sentence


His name was underlined in the book. The accident underlines our need for better safety procedures.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her sudden boost in confidence and self-possession is underlined by her (borrowed!) powder blue Marchesa dress. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The Most Stylish Movies and TV Shows of 2018," 17 Dec. 2018 What’s being underlined in this conversation around Nike destruction and its relative merit is that this performative boycott isn’t just about the brand itself. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Why the social media boycott over Colin Kaepernick is a win for Nike," 6 Sep. 2018 And, in a point that should be underlined over and over, it is associated with increases, not decreases, in the number of abortions that take place worldwide. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Time, "Sen. Warren: Trump’s New Proposal Is Another Attempt by the Government to Control Women’s Bodies," 30 May 2018 The premier’s vulnerability was underlined in December when 12 Conservative rebels forced her into granting Parliament a meaningful vote on her final Brexit deal -- also the subject of one of her defeats in the Lords on the bill. Alex Morales, Bloomberg.com, "Lords Defeat May in Brexit Bill Vote on Irish Border Provisions," 2 May 2018 That stat gets underlined this series since the Heat had lost 11 of 13 road games coming into Saturday. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde: Whiteside a no-show in Game 1 as Heat run off court by 76ers | Commentary," 15 Apr. 2018 This subplot is handled shrewdly — its attitude of inclusivity is underlined by the way Cannon delivers it, of a piece with the rest of the material. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "'Blockers': Prom night sex pact turns into a raunchy, sweet comedy," 4 Apr. 2018 Time's Up also is not just about the entertainment industry, a point that has repeatedly been emphasized and was underlined at the Golden Globes when seven actresses escorted seven activists on the red carpet. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, "Time's Up, 60 Days In: "This Was Launched on the Carpet, But Was Never Intended to Live on the Carpet"," 2 Mar. 2018 The cheeks are more pronounced, the mouth is more aggressive, and the headlights are underlined with black plastic. Tony Markovich, Car and Driver, "Better X: Toyota Refreshes Its Aygo City Car," 23 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The books are marked with underlines and checks in Wharton’s hand. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New England museums to visit this summer and fall," 4 July 2018 There might be multiple exclamation points, or several underlines, and that number will usually land somewhere in the 90s or high 80s. Michael Austin, chicagotribune.com, "Not everyone's a fan of wine scores, but there's a way to use them," 25 Apr. 2018 The taillamps remain in the same location but have been restyled to feature a slim, lighted underline. Tony Markovich, Car and Driver, "2019 Jeep Cherokee: The Baby Grand," 17 Jan. 2018 And so a quote from the paper, rules tend to use formulas or equations for the policy instrument at least as a guide – and those underlines are mine, not John’s – when making decisions. WSJ, "Transcript: John Taylor Presentation and Q&A at Boston Fed," 15 Oct. 2017 This video below underlines just how far he's come. Gregory Krieg, CNN, "Jeff Sessions is doing what President Trump can't," 6 Sep. 2017 There is no question — underline no question — that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election last year, and Moscow continues to meddle in the Democratic processes of our friends and allies. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Why conservatives loved Trump’s U.N. speech so much," 20 Sep. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of underline


1721, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about underline

Share underline

Statistics for underline

Last Updated

11 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for underline

The first known use of underline was in 1721

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for underline



English Language Learners Definition of underline

: to draw a line under (something)
: to emphasize (something) : to show the importance of (something)


un·​der·​line | \ ˈən-dər-ˌlīn How to pronounce underline (audio) \
underlined; underlining

Kids Definition of underline

1 : to draw a line under
2 : emphasize The poor results underline our need to try harder.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on underline

What made you want to look up underline? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!