un·​der·​score | \ ˈən-dər-ˌskȯr How to pronounce underscore (audio) \
underscored; underscoring; underscores

Definition of underscore

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to draw a line under : underline
2 : to make evident : emphasize, stress arrived early to underscore the importance of the occasion
3 : to provide (action on film) with accompanying music



Definition of underscore (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a line drawn under a word or line especially for emphasis or to indicate intent to italicize
2 : music accompanying the action and dialogue of a film

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Synonyms & Antonyms for underscore

Synonyms: Verb

accentuate, bring out, emphasize, italicize, stress, underline

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of underscore in a Sentence


These failures underscore the difficulty of what we're attempting to do. The President's visit underscores the administration's commitment to free trade. She underscored the most important points.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That’s not the case in China, however, a point underscored this week by two new vehicle announcements. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla’s competition for the Model Y is growing quickly in China," 21 Dec. 2018 Scott’s good taste in vintage was underscored by his inventive styling. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Travis Scott Brings Back a Classic (And Kanye-Approved) Piece of Philo-Era Celine," 12 Nov. 2018 It was planned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, which was underscored with the Central Band of the Royal Air Force and the Band of the Royal Marines onstage. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Wears Stella McCartney to Her First Festival of Remembrance," 10 Nov. 2018 That vibe is underscored with the space's massive floor-to-ceiling windows, an open kitchen with mosaic countertops, and the vibrant family photos around David's office. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "The Stunning House In Beautiful Boy Is Also In Big Little Lies," 26 Oct. 2018 Franklin’s singular influence as an artist is also underscored by the way other artists speak about her. Karen Han, Vox, "Aretha Franklin’s “royal persona” commanded respect," 16 Aug. 2018 That problem was underscored by the National Academics of Science, Engineering and Medicine, which released a 500-page overview of the health affects of cannabis and cannabinoids in January 2017. Gary Robbins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Consumers are being flooded with dubious claims about the health benefits of marijuana," 9 July 2018 Their ongoing relevance is underscored by the current edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale, which focuses as much on the quality of spaces between buildings as on knock-your-eyes-out works of architecture. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "For July 4th, four architectural freedoms," 2 July 2018 Acqualina Beach, Sunny Isles Beach, North Beach The beauty of Miami’s northernmost beach, Sunny Isles Beach, is underscored by the over-the-top beachscape of Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach and its surrounding excess. Paul Rubio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Best Beaches in Miami," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Last night's episode established violence as a running theme in the series, and tonight's underscores the lack of opportunity. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "In My Brilliant Friend, Education Offers a Dangerous Escape from Poverty," 20 Nov. 2018 Today’s Video Immigration Divide House Speaker Paul Ryan’s tussles with some Republican lawmakers on immigration underscore how the party has struggled to define its consensus position on the issue. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The 10-Point.," 22 May 2018 The lack of color underscores how shocking these works once were. Roberta Smith, Martha Schwendener And Will Heinrich, New York Times, "What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week," 11 Apr. 2018 Various anonymous comments by Republican consultants, almost gleeful in tone, underscore that guess. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "Violence That Changes Everything—and Nothing," 29 Oct. 2018 And while the family certainly is special, as the movie underscores, the Incredibles don’t want to withdraw from the world. Brad Bird, New York Times, "Review: ‘Incredibles 2’ Is a Fast Blast (With Red Flags)," 13 June 2018 That blacks may do even better underscores the need to dig deeper to find out why, said Halabi. Washington Post, "Blacks fare surprisingly well in prostate cancer research," 1 June 2018 Its elimination places an ironic underscore on the region’s housing crisis: The bus drivers’ temporary bedsits may have to make way for permanent development. Wendy Lee, SFChronicle.com, "Silicon Valley bus drivers sleep in parking lots. They may have to make way for development," 25 June 2018 The new video service underscores Instagram’s efforts to fend off competition by rivals like YouTube and Snapchat that operate competing social media and video services favored by young adults and teenagers. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Instagram Debuts YouTube Rival IGTV Video App for 'Creators'," 20 June 2018

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


1771, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1901, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for underscore

Last Updated

7 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for underscore

The first known use of underscore was in 1771

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More Definitions for underscore



English Language Learners Definition of underscore

: to emphasize (something) or show the importance of (something)
: to draw a line under (something)


un·​der·​score | \ ˈən-dər-ˌskȯr How to pronounce underscore (audio) \
underscored; underscoring

Kids Definition of underscore

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Comments on underscore

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


of or relating to a parable or parabola

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