undermine

verb
un·​der·​mine | \ ˌən-dər-ˈmīn How to pronounce undermine (audio) , ˈən-dər-ˌmīn\
undermined; undermining; undermines

Definition of undermine

transitive verb

1 : to subvert or weaken insidiously or secretly trying to undermine his political rivals
2 : to weaken or ruin by degrees
3 : to wash away supporting material from under
4 : to excavate the earth beneath : form a mine under : sap

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for undermine

weaken, enfeeble, debilitate, undermine, sap, cripple, disable mean to lose or cause to lose strength or vigor. weaken may imply loss of physical strength, health, soundness, or stability or of quality, intensity, or effective power. a disease that weakens the body's defenses enfeeble implies a condition of marked weakness and helplessness. enfeebled by starvation debilitate suggests a less marked or more temporary impairment of strength or vitality. the debilitating effects of surgery undermine and sap suggest a weakening by something working surreptitiously and insidiously. a poor diet undermines your health drugs had sapped his ability to think cripple implies causing a serious loss of functioning power through damaging or removing an essential part or element. crippled by arthritis disable suggests bringing about impairment or limitation in a physical or mental ability. disabled by an injury sustained at work

Examples of undermine in a Sentence

She tried to undermine my authority by complaining about me to my boss. The events of the past year have undermined people's confidence in the government.

Recent Examples on the Web

The first hit came in November 2016, when Modi decided to pull 86% of cash out of circulation to undermine black markets. Washington Post, "India’s economy slows, stalling once thriving manufacturing," 16 Sep. 2019 Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Michael Jackson’s Estate Slams Leaving Neverland's Outstanding Documentary Emmy Win," 16 Sep. 2019 But the pharmaceutical industry's willingness to undermine this system is having real consequences for American patients. CNN, "Big Pharma is abusing patents, and it's hurting Americans," 12 Sep. 2019 Trump’s multiple meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rankled Bolton, who has spent much of his career working to undermine past diplomatic initiatives with Pyongyang. Ishaan Tharoor, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Trump axes Bolton, the hawk he brought to the White House," 11 Sep. 2019 Mr Márquez’s gun-toting appearance is certain further to undermine public support for the deal. The Economist, "Will Colombia return to war?," 5 Sep. 2019 Surely at this early stage in his premiership, the prime minister should be seeking to establish rather than undermine his democratic credentials and indeed his commitment to Parliamentary democracy. Fox News, "Early court ruling sides with Johnson in fight to suspend Parliament," 30 Aug. 2019 Also, don’t openly disparage management or talk about bosses behind their backs, and don’t do anything to undermine their authority. Chris Woolston, Quartz at Work, "How to deal with an abusive boss," 29 Aug. 2019 Unfortunately, this unnecessarily vague warning threatens to undermine public health. Michael Siegel, National Review, "CDC’s Bias Against E-Cigarettes Is Putting Kids’ Lives at Risk," 27 Aug. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of undermine

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about undermine

Statistics for undermine

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for undermine

The first known use of undermine was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for undermine

undermine

verb

English Language Learners Definition of undermine

: to make (someone or something) weaker or less effective usually in a secret or gradual way

undermine

verb
un·​der·​mine | \ ˌən-dər-ˈmīn How to pronounce undermine (audio) \
undermined; undermining

Kids Definition of undermine

1 : to dig out or wear away the supporting earth beneath Erosion undermined the wall.
2 : to weaken secretly or little by little Their criticisms undermine my confidence.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on undermine

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a topic to which one constantly reverts

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!