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 While the issue of potable water access had received some attention during the drought that lasted from 2012 to 2017, that spectacle often elided the deep underlying problems that remained when the drought ended. New York Times, "‘Brown Water for Brown People’: Making Sense of California’s Drinking Water Crisis," 29 Nov. 2019 To mask the underlying problem of missing industry-wide profitability, some traditional brokers are boosting their proprietary trades — or extending leverage to customers — by dipping into clients’ funds. Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "India Must Clean Up or Clear Out Dodgy Brokers," 26 Nov. 2019 Been There Dear Been There: Thank you for lending some more insight into how out-of-the-blue, out-of-character behavior can signal serious underlying medical problems. Annie Lane | Creators.com, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Charitable donations make great gifts for those who don’t need anything," 25 Nov. 2019 Consider counseling Health experts recommend adolescents seek counseling or therapy that can address nicotine use as well as underlying problems that could have led them there. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "E-cigarettes are especially addictive for teens. Here's how to help them quit," 20 Nov. 2019 Although rate cuts do nothing to fix the underlying problem — trade uncertainty — analysts say the support from the Fed could help boost confidence, prop up stock prices and help interest-sensitive parts of the economy such as real estate and autos. Matt Egan, CNN, "How America's aging economic expansion could stay alive for years," 31 Oct. 2019 On Wednesday, Lam will deliver an annual policy speech to address some underlying problems in Hong Kong that have also fueled discontent, including its wealth gap and shortage of affordable housing. John Leicester, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hong Kong’s leader: Territory not becoming a police state," 15 Oct. 2019 That hints at how underlying problems of poverty and poor educational attainment continue to hold back Detroit. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit can't cherry-pick statistics, ignore inconvenient facts," 21 Aug. 2019 The goal of the lab’s research is to understand how hearing works in healthy brains, the university said, and how underlying mechanisms break down when there’s hearing loss or implant surgery. oregonlive, "OHSU animal lab halts research after feds find infected ferret, other problems," 19 Nov. 2019

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

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Underlying.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underlying?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=u&file=underl11. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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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