un·​der·​pin | \ˌən-dər-ˈpin \
underpinned; underpinning; underpins

Definition of underpin 

transitive verb

1 : support, substantiate underpin a thesis with evidence

2 : to form part of, strengthen, or replace the foundation of underpin a structure underpin a sagging building

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Examples of underpin in a Sentence

a wall underpinned by metal beams the central beliefs that underpin a free society

Recent Examples on the Web

With the suspect dead, much remains uncertain: whether more bombs were planted, whether Conditt acted alone, whether some larger ideology or political aim underpinned the bombings. Laura King, latimes.com, "Austin bombings revive debate over domestic terrorism designation," 22 Mar. 2018 The former is structurally based on the Civic, while the Rogue uses a light-car design that underpins other Nissan models. Dan Frio, Edmunds, USA TODAY, "Crossover SUVs compared: Edmunds takes a closer look at Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue," 3 Mar. 2018 Should its products underpin the arrival of 5G in automotive uses, Qualcomm’s role in the industry will only expand. Pete Bigelow, Car and Driver, "Qualcomm Has Big Plans for Cellular Connections between Future Cars," 1 Mar. 2018 In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the City Council asked the city manager to evaluate the benefits of a pilot venture that may result in the city selling an undetermined amount of municipal bonds with the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies. Bloomberg.com, "Blockchain Municipal Bond Plan Inches Forward With Berkeley Vote," 2 May 2018 But one is that welfare states have often diverged from the liberal principles that underpinned them. The Economist, "Capitalism needs a welfare state to survive," 12 July 2018 Both companies were set up before revelations from a whistle blower were released in March that Cambridge Analytica had misused data from millions of Facebook users that underpinned work on U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Stephanie Baker, chicagotribune.com, "Cambridge Analytica won't be revived under new company name, executive says," 8 May 2018 With celebrations starting Friday in Beijing, China is making the bicentennial part of a drive to reinvigorate its communist heritage, and underpin its growing global clout. Bloomberg.com, "Look Who's Picking Up the Tab for Karl Marx's Birthday Bash," 4 May 2018 Anti-migrant sentiment that underpinned the group’s ideology was particularly strong in eastern Germany during the early 1990s, when Mundlos, Boehnhardt and Zschaepe were in their late teens and early 20s. Washington Post, "Neo-Nazi trial puts spotlight on fate of migrants in Germany," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underpin.' 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 underpin

1522, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for underpin

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for underpin

The first known use of underpin was in 1522

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English Language Learners Definition of underpin

: to strengthen or support (something) from below

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Comments on underpin

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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