underlying

adjective un·der·ly·ing \ ˌən-dər-ˈlī-iŋ \
|Updated on: 19 Jul 2018

Definition of underlying

1 a : lying beneath or below
  • the underlying rock is shale
b : basic, fundamental
  • an investigation of the underlying issues
2 : evident only on close inspection : implicit
3 : anterior and prior in claim
  • underlying mortgage
4 : of or being present in deep structure
  • underlying word order

Examples of underlying in a Sentence

  1. the ocean and the underlying rock

  2. the underlying differences between democracy and dictatorship

Recent Examples of underlying from the Web

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

First Known Use of underlying

1611

in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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UNDERLYING Defined for English Language Learners

underlying

Definition of underlying for English Language Learners

  • —used to identify the idea, cause, problem, etc., that forms the basis of something

  • : lying under or below something


Medical Dictionary

underlying

adjective un·der·ly·ing \ -ˌlī-iŋ \

medical Definition of underlying

: serving as a basis or cause (as of secondary symptoms)
  • the underlying brain malformation that caused the hydrocephalus
  • —R. M. Henig


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