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

Examples of underlying in a Sentence

the ocean and the underlying rock the underlying differences between democracy and dictatorship
Recent Examples on the Web In his case, the underlying felony was aiding and abetting a conspiracy to murder. Anabel Sosa, Los Angeles Times, 29 July 2022 By separating distraction from social connection, TikTok can directly compete for users without the need to first painstakingly build up an underlying network, link by link. Cal Newport, The New Yorker, 28 July 2022 Quality sleep is healthy and restorative for the body, Blattner says, so a change in sleep habits, either needing more sleep at night or naps during the day, might signal an underlying health problem. Vanessa Etienne, PEOPLE.com, 28 July 2022 Even if the justices decline to hear this dispute, the rapid growth of religious-arbitration contracts in non-ecclesiastical contexts may eventually compel them to answer the underlying constitutional questions. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 27 July 2022 The microrobots would probe through a moon’s frozen crust into underlying oceans. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 21 July 2022 Jensen wants to become a physician in part to help work on some of the underlying structural reasons people in her tribe die so young. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, 21 July 2022 Young investors are less likely to approach speculative financial products as investments with underlying value. Declan Harty, Fortune, 21 July 2022 The heat dissolved the underlying tar, causing the traditional Chinese tiles to pop off. Amir Vera, CNN, 21 July 2022 See More

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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Time Traveler for underlying

Time Traveler

The first known use of underlying was in 1611

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Dictionary Entries Near underlying



underlying bond

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Statistics for underlying

Last Updated

31 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Underlying.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underlying. Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for underlying


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

More from Merriam-Webster on underlying

Nglish: Translation of underlying for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of underlying for Arabic Speakers


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