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

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of underscore in a Sentence

Verb 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 The three deaths — one at Wednesday's fire and two likely connected to exposure — underscore the urgency of the ongoing work, Tincher said. Shannon Prather, Star Tribune, "St. Paul grapples with third encampment death this winter," 20 Jan. 2021 Patrick’s rule changes and continuous reduction of Democrats’ sway in committee assignments underscore the chamber’s drift toward Washington-style, hard-nosed partisanship, said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, "Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick further shrinks Senate Democrats’ clout, awards them few plum posts," 15 Jan. 2021 Gerry Hebert, who spent 21 years at the Justice Department enforcing voting rights laws said the lawsuits underscore democracy's fragility. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, "Trump election lawsuits targeted counties with large Black, Latino populations," 2 Dec. 2020 Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the findings underscore the need to promote healthier lifestyles, including regular exercise and sound diet, to prevent underlying conditions from developing. Liz Hardaway, ExpressNews.com, "‘It’s insidious’ — coronavirus claims six more lives in San Antonio," 13 Oct. 2020 McAndrew said the survey findings underscore the importance of reassuring businesses and workers that transit is a safe option, and to continue making investments in the system even as ridership remains low. Washington Post, "Majority of the Washington region’s workers unlikely to return to the office before summer, survey says," 14 Sep. 2020 The findings underscore the urgent need to increase genomic sequencing across California and the nation, scientists like Chiu say. Erin Allday, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area scientists hunting for coronavirus variants say U.S. needs genomic surveillance plan," 23 Jan. 2021 The documents underscore the need for the city to impose a ban on facial recognition technology in policing, the ACLU of Louisiana said. Matt Sledge, NOLA.com, "NOPD has used facial recognition since at least 2018, emails reveal," 14 Dec. 2020 Our recent recruiting difficulties underscore the need to address the talent pool challenge aggressively and systemically. Omar Asali For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "US manufacturers have jobs to fill. Finding workers here at home is the problem," 24 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At side stage, cellist Amanda Schaar emphasizes the most dramatic parts of the script with an original underscore of raw sounds that are often intentionally unsettling, but occasionally too loud. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: North Coast Rep’s ‘An Iliad’ takes viewers on a dark, fascinating journey," 14 Dec. 2020 Both the case’s criminal outcome and arbitration decision underscore problems with the way authorities handle domestic violence cases of all kinds, said Karen Jarmoc, the CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "Central Connecticut State University ordered to reinstate former administrator after domestic violence charges were dropped," 1 Dec. 2020 The city’s canopy of trees, too, the host and his camera underscore, is denser in the wealthier neighborhoods. Steve Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Review: WTTW’s ‘Chicago from the Air’ gives a drone’s-eye view of the city, region," 18 Nov. 2020 The visual accompaniment functions as a dreamy underscore, existing in parallel rather than in illustration. Charles Mcnulty Theater Critic, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Black women refusing to be silenced. That’s the sound of this ‘November’," 2 Nov. 2020 More than $609,000 has been spent for and against both candidates and the relentless negative mailers against Rodriguez underscore Republicans' concerns in the area, according to a recent tally by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Democrats have Republicans on the defensive in traditionally safe Milwaukee suburbs," 30 Oct. 2020 The early data on cancer underscore concerns that the negative health impact of the coronavirus extends well beyond the direct effects of Covid-19. Anna Wilde Mathews, WSJ, "Covid-19 Outbreaks Led to Dangerous Delay in Cancer Diagnoses," 15 Oct. 2020 The latest measures to protect the integrity of the election on Facebook underscore growing concerns about the election’s legitimacy among a large swath of Americans of all political persuasions. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Facebook bans political ads after polls close on Election Day as U.S. tensions rise," 8 Oct. 2020 Moore’s life and death underscore that not all heroes become legends. Francine Uenuma, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Unsolved Murder of Civil Rights Activist Harry Moore," 26 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for underscore

Time Traveler

The first known use of underscore was in 1771

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Statistics for underscore

Last Updated

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Underscore.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underscore. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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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

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