un·​der·​pin·​ning | \ ˈən-dər-ˌpi-niŋ \

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

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 Mainstream women’s liberation did not seek to reimagine the world and its capitalist underpinnings. Zoey Grossman; Fashion Editor: Cassie Anderson, Harper's BAZAAR, "Uzo Aduba, Katie Holmes & Ieshia Evans Reenact Iconic Images of Social Change," 20 Nov. 2018 Much of the internet’s underpinnings are built on trust, a relic of the good intentions its designers assumed of users. Frank Bajak, The Seattle Times, "Internet traffic hijack disrupts Google services," 13 Nov. 2018 The closing credits do gain a lift from featuring clips of the actual guys, offering a sense of the movie's playful underpinnings. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Tag' has moments but doesn't leave a mark," 14 June 2018 De La Cruz said the existence of fiber-optic cable in those three areas were one of the underpinnings of the geographic selections. Josh Baugh, San Antonio Express-News, "City to move forward with innovation zones," 6 June 2018 One of the key underpinnings to the airline industry's unprecedented string of years without fatalities in the U.S. is the rigorous process of certifying aircraft. Bloomberg.com, "Boeing Is Getting Ready to Sell Flying Taxis," 1 Mar. 2018 Psychologists have traditionally thought of hunger and emotions as separate, with hunger and other physical states as basic drives with different physiological and neural underpinnings from emotions. Jennifer Maccormack, Washington Post, "If you’ve ever been hangry, this is what your body may be telling you," 9 July 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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Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

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

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to express emotion in a dramatic way

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