un·​der·​ly·​ing | \ ˌən-dər-ˈlī-iŋ How to pronounce underlying (audio) \

Definition of underlying

1a : 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

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Examples of underlying in a Sentence

the ocean and the underlying rock the underlying differences between democracy and dictatorship
Recent Examples on the Web Those deep underlying issues are helping sustain a marathon movement that is testing the patience of the French, hurting their economy and again exposing the class fault-lines in Mr. Macron’s would-be reformist presidency. Adam Nossiter, New York Times, "At the Heart of France’s Long Strikes, a Fight Between the Haves and the Have-Nots," 9 Jan. 2020 But no amount of anger or advocacy can fix the underlying issue plaguing Martin County and others like it: inadequate funds. April Johnston, Cincinnati.com, "‘That's vinegar’: The Ohio River’s history of contamination and progress made," 26 Dec. 2019 Hancock also believes American horses are entirely over-medicated, and many drugs mask underlying issues, putting perhaps slightly injured horses on the path to a fatal injury. CBS News, "Horse racing reaches critical moment after rash of deaths," 30 Nov. 2019 Money is no doubt an underlying issue for CTG’s fond step-child. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: As Center Theatre Group sputters, L.A. struggles to realize its artistic potential," 14 Oct. 2019 Ball of Collusion was warmly received in the best way: by readers who were very familiar with the story and its underlying facts. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Taking the Real Story of Collusion Across the Country," 17 Dec. 2019 But while seven points from a possible 15 to start the La Liga campaign is bad enough on the face of it, their struggles largely stem from an underlying issue that stretches back into last season - their away form. SI.com, "Barcelona's Defeat at Granada Marks 18-Year Low as Pressure Mounts on Ernesto Valverde," 23 Sep. 2019 There’s also a certain hopeful takeaway that might be unexpected, given the work’s underlying subject matter. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Falling Out, the Haunting Final Installment of Phantom Limb’s Nature Trilogy, Premieres at BAM," 7 Nov. 2018 The underlying matter is not Russian collusion or interference with the campaign — Manafort has not faced any charges about that — but Manafort’s work for the pro-Russian Ukrainian government several years back. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Mueller just added more charges to Paul Manafort — and indicted Konstantin Kilimnik," 8 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of underlying

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for underlying

Time Traveler

The first known use of underlying was in 1611

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Statistics for underlying

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Underlying.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underlying. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for underlying


How to pronounce underlying (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of underlying

used to identify the idea, cause, problem, etc., that forms the basis of something
: lying under or below something


un·​der·​ly·​ing | \ -ˌlī-iŋ How to pronounce underlying (audio) \

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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Comments on underlying

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


experienced by way of someone else

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