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 more likely to avoid routine or emergency care were unpaid caregivers for adults, people with disabilities, young adults aged 18- to 24-years-old, Hispanic adults, students and people with two or more underlying medical conditions, says Cmdr. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "The Consequences of Skipping Doctor Appointments During the Covid Pandemic," 3 May 2021 First-grader dies of COVID-19 complications in Minnesota: A first-grader with no underlying health conditions has died from complications due to COVID-19, according to a statement from the Minnesota Department of Health. Chronicle Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: April 22-28, 2021," 2 May 2021 All had underlying high-risk health conditions and had been critically ill in hospitals. Kelli Smith, Dallas News, "Dallas County reports 5 COVID-19 deaths, 165 coronavirus cases; Tarrant adds 2 deaths, 183 cases," 1 May 2021 Separately, surveys by the CDC last year indicated that adults with underlying medical conditions were less interested in getting the vaccine than healthier adults. Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica, "Counties at Highest Risk for COVID Harm Often Have Lowest Vaccination Rates," 30 Apr. 2021 Officials said the boy had underlying health conditions but did not reveal what those were, nor his exact age, to protect the family’s privacy. Author: Nina Wu, Anchorage Daily News, "Boy who became Hawaii’s first pediatric COVID-19 fatality had traveled from mainland with vaccinated parents," 30 Apr. 2021 The underlying message: this blushing bride has gotten laid — and Fran isn’t afraid to talk about it. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "I Rewatched The Nanny & I Can’t Believe How Horny It Is," 7 Apr. 2021 The underlying message — that the next step of America’s economic recovery is fundamentally tied to countering the climate crisis — represents a major pivot in the way Democrats make the case for tackling global warming. New York Times, "Biden’s Recovery Plan Bets Big on Clean Energy," 23 Mar. 2021 Still, the Russo siblings, all three of them, took great care in making sure the underlying message of the film is a positive one. cleveland, "Russo brothers come home, team up with sister to make ‘Cherry,’ their most personal film yet," 21 Feb. 2021

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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Underlying.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underlying. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for underlying



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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