un·​der·​pin·​ning | \ ˈən-dər-ˌpi-niŋ How to pronounce underpinning (audio) \

Definition of underpinning

1 : the material and construction (such as a foundation) used for support of a structure
2 : something that serves as a foundation : basis, support often used in pluralthe philosophical underpinnings of educational methods
3 : underwear usually used in plural
4 : a person's legs usually used in plural

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Examples of underpinning in a Sentence

the underpinnings of the theory have recently been called into question the underpinnings of the bridge were seriously damaged in the collision
Recent Examples on the Web The foundation of Yeezy, and the underpinning of its valuation, is its footwear collaboration with Adidas. Marc Bain, Quartz, "Gap shouldn’t expect to replicate Kanye’s Adidas success," 26 June 2020 But a valid emergency declaration is a legal underpinning for such orders. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Supreme Court rejects case challenging Gov. Whitmer's emergency powers," 4 June 2020 Monday’s legal action continues a long battle between traditional publishers, for which copyrights are an underpinning of the business, and the Internet community, which has advocated making as much material as possible available for free. Hillel Italie, BostonGlobe.com, "Publishers sue Internet Archive, says its free online ‘library’ violates copyright law," 1 June 2020 The Danny Deck story speaks to the underbelly of Rangers’ history, the darkness that reveals itself as often as the light and which serves as the underpinning of Swanson’s book. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "The Texas Rangers didn’t invent police brutality, says the author of a new book, ‘they perfected it’," 4 June 2020 The British firm can piggyback on Geely’s investment by outsourcing the development of a new platform, the basic underpinning of a car, and the costs of electrifying all future models. The Economist, "Carmaking Lotus benefits from its Chinese connection," 28 May 2020 As the global economy reels and layoffs soar, companies that build or operate the physical underpinnings of online existence are doing healthy business. Tom Simonite, Wired, "On Earth, the Economy Is Tanking. In the Cloud, It's Fine," 21 May 2020 In recent weeks, efforts have mobilized to study the genetic underpinnings of the human body’s response to the virus. oregonlive, "Why do some people die from coronavirus, others hardly get sick? The answer could be your genes," 20 Apr. 2020 The subject of the movie is Autumn’s transformation as the underpinnings of her life are wrenched away, her rapid and desperate construction of a new one in its place. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” Reviewed: Eliza Hittman’s Ingenious Portrait of the Bureaucracy of Abortion," 12 Mar. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for underpinning

Time Traveler

The first known use of underpinning was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

10 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Underpinning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underpinning. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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