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

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 Scientists around the world have continued to chip away at the genetic underpinning of this heartbreaking disease that steals the mind, leaving the body empty of its former self. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 31 July 2022 Technology is the underpinning of goals met, revenues generated, services delivered, the way the consumer feels about the business, staff retention, all the things. Paige Francis, Forbes, 22 June 2022 So that innovation and those new technologies are going to be a core underpinning of getting us to a netzero world. Fortune Editors, Fortune, 15 June 2022 Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are unique pieces of digital content linked to the blockchain, the digital database underpinning cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum. Kate Bennett, CNN, 16 Dec. 2021 Anxiety has some genetic underpinning, which parents can pass to children. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, 15 Nov. 2021 Of course, there is the immediate allure of an underpinning formerly intended to be hidden. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, 9 June 2022 Drone companies increasingly have been cleared to expand their operations in the U.S. as technology underpinning air-delivery improves. Suman Bhattacharyya, WSJ, 7 Apr. 2022 More existentially, the technology underpinning NFTs is complicated and difficult for even experienced engineers to harness, leading to delays and snafus in other sales. Abram Brown, Forbes, 26 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of underpinning

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About underpinning

Time Traveler for underpinning

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near underpinning




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for underpinning

Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Underpinning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underpinning. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on underpinning

Nglish: Translation of underpinning for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of underpinning for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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