underling

noun
un·​der·​ling | \ ˈən-dər-liŋ How to pronounce underling (audio) \

Definition of underling

: one who is under the orders of another : subordinate, inferior

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for underling

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of underling in a Sentence

He takes all the credit, but most of the hard work is done by his underlings. the real estate tycoon has a whole army of underlings to attend to the details
Recent Examples on the Web One thing that struck me about this audio was that on some of the Nixon tapes, Nixon is the one being racist or bigoted, and his underlings are fawningly trying to catch up to him, or echo him. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "How a Historian Uncovered Ronald Reagan’s Racist Remarks to Richard Nixon," 2 Aug. 2019 The last person to have the sword was Yuto Mori (Yôsuke Kubozuka), one of Fukuhara’s underlings and a man who has been presumed dead for a full year. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "The Twisty Full Story Behind Giri/Haji’s Central Murder, Explained," 10 Jan. 2020 But there’s a muddiness to some of the stage business, such as the bumbling of the Little Robber Girl’s bandit underlings. Celia Wren, Washington Post, "No winter wonderland in slushy ‘Snow Queen’," 15 Dec. 2019 The Montalbano books are known not just for their distinctive inspector but also for a colorful array of underlings and other recurring characters. Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, "Andrea Camilleri, Author of Inspector Montalbano Novels, Dies at 93," 17 July 2019 Michaels was walking by with a group of his underlings and spotted Hammond and stopped. Geoff Edgers, chicagotribune.com, "Trump says 'SNL' should bring back Darrell Hammond; Hammond says only if Lorne asks," 9 Mar. 2018 Women managers do not appear to be similarly partial to female underlings, which may help explain why female board quotas have no effect on management’s gender mix. The Economist, "How to deal with board gender quotas," 12 Dec. 2019 But the White House communications staff, which normally rushes to deny or sidestep rumors that Mr. Trump is angry with or on the brink of firing an underling, has been quiet. New York Times, "Kelly Finds Himself in a Familiar Place in the Trump White House: Eyeing the Exits," 2 May 2018 Mendoza decided to bypass security procedures and broker a large drug deal herself from the Gulf Coast instead of using underlings to assume the risks. Beth Warren, courier-journal.com, "How a Mississippi trooper almost took down the world’s most powerful cartel boss," 25 Nov. 2019

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

12th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about underling

Time Traveler for underling

Time Traveler

The first known use of underling was in the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for underling

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Underling.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underling. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for underling

underling

noun
How to pronounce underling (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of underling

disapproving : a person of low rank who works for a more powerful person

More from Merriam-Webster on underling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for underling

Spanish Central: Translation of underling

Comments on underling

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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