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 plural the 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

Details are top secret, but its large wheels tip their hubs to its heavy duty underpinnings. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "Trump's new 'Beast' limousine spotted roaming New York City," 24 Sep. 2018 Blockchain technology serves as the underpinning for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Steven Russolillo, WSJ, "Crypto Meets Wall Street as Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Files for IPO," 27 Sep. 2018 The move comes as a federal judge in DC mulled an ACLU challenge to the man's detention, which had drawn unprecedented judicial scrutiny to the US's legal underpinning for the war on ISIS. Sophie Tatum, CNN, "Pentagon plans to release US citizen held in Iraq, Justice Dept. tells court," 6 June 2018 There are clear and distinct racial underpinnings that give voice to some of the reasons behind Trump’s election and also prove that this is not the first example of a whitelash in American history. Kim Reynolds, Teen Vogue, "How White People Have Reacted to Black Success Over Time in the United States," 30 July 2018 For Maya, working in her mother’s lab week after week gives her hyper-logical pursuit a deep, emotional underpinning. Susan Kaplan Carlton, BostonGlobe.com, "Meredith Goldstein is growing love in a lab," 22 June 2018 Lots of sheer white dresses, too many clogs, and delicate vintage underpinnings from the early 20th century. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Can a Summer Bag Change Your Mindset for the Better?," 31 May 2018 While the underpinnings of the right to asylum are a matter of international law, that isn’t the Trump administration’s biggest legal obstacle. Dara Lind, Vox, "The asylum ban — Trump’s boldest immigration power grab yet — explained," 12 Nov. 2018 First violinist Edward Dusinberre is prone to taking expressive chances, and cellist András Fejér offers a solid rhythmic underpinning. Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, "Takács Quartet, in transition, is stirring at the Kimmel," 21 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for underpinning

Last Updated

26 May 2019

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Time Traveler for underpinning

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

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Comments on underpinning

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a strong desire or propensity

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