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

Definition of underling

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for underling


inferior, junior, subordinate


senior, superior

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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

Florida law makes Israel accountable for the actions of his underlings and for policies instituted by his office, the governor’s lawyers argued in a proposed recommended order submitted to the Senate on Aug. 13. Dara Kam, sun-sentinel.com, "Ousted sheriff Scott Israel says he’s not to blame for mass shootings," 21 Aug. 2019 Does an underling impress when standing in for their boss? The Economist, "Holidays are good for workers and companies alike," 8 Aug. 2019 As the curtain lifted on season six, Liza was finally with Charles, who handed over his job as publisher to Kelsey and left Empirical, avoiding the publicly dicey situation of the boss dating the underling. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Younger is a great show. One of its love interests: Not so much.," 14 July 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, BostonGlobe.com, "Andrea Camilleri, author of Inspector Montalbano novels, dies at 93," 18 July 2019 Throughout those arguments, though, Erdogan has largely refrained from criticizing Trump directly, portraying decisions that have angered Turkey as the work of headstrong underlings in the U.S. bureaucracy. Washington Post, "Erdogan says he does not expect U.S. sanctions after Russian missile defense purchase," 21 June 2019 Despite the warnings, Ross overruled his underlings. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court Seems Oddly Ambivalent About Being Lied To," 27 June 2019 Their opposite numbers were the scattered divisions of Allied administrators—civil servants, diplomats, organization directors and all their unremembered underlings. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: The List of Varian Fry," 3 May 2019 The Washington Post and the New York Times dwelled on the same half-dozen anecdotes: One underling called him an idiot. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "We’re Surviving Trump Just Fine," 7 Sep. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of underling

12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for underling

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for underling

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

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English Language Learners Definition of underling

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

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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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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