un·der·score | \ˈən-dər-ˌskȯr \
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

The more challenging backdrop also led analysts to start reducing forecasts for corporate profits, which had been expected to underscore a rally this year after rising in recent years. Fortune, "This Metric Shows Emerging-Market Stocks Are Cheap, Cheap, Cheap," 6 July 2018 This explanation jibes with the British tradition of flying a ‘half-staff’ flag exactly one flag’s width lower than its normal position to underscore that Death’s flag is flapping above it. Michael E. Miller, Washington Post, "‘Disgraceful’: Trump once criticized Obama for not swiftly lowering the American flag. Now it’s his turn.," 3 July 2018 Freeland's visit is part of a broader Canadian effort to underscore the importance of the US-Canada relationship and particularly their trade ties -- an effort that began even before Trump took office. Nicole Gaouette, CNN, "Canadian foreign minister calls Trump tariffs 'absurd' and 'illegal'," 13 June 2018 So the Flynn effect would seem to underscore the power of environment. Robert Wright, WIRED, "Sam Harris and the Myth of Perfectly Rational Thought," 17 May 2018 The point seemed to be both to remind readers of the topography of a war Americans were actively forgetting and to underscore how, regardless of the size of the cataclysm, its impact on a society living in peace is doomed to diminish precipitously. Maya Dukmasova, Chicago Reader, "Archive Dive / History / News On winning wars and losing memories," 18 Apr. 2018 The report underscores how ill-prepared the agency was to manage a crisis outside the continental United States, like the one in Puerto Rico. Frances Robles, New York Times, "FEMA Was Sorely Unprepared for Puerto Rico Hurricane, Report Says," 12 July 2018 To underscore the point, Wilson and Gurley are on a level with Eagles center Jason Kelce and Buffalo DB Micah Hyde ... and behind Rodney Hudson. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "'Madden NFL 19' player ratings: 9 head-turning observations include slight to Eli Manning," 12 July 2018 Today’s announcement further underscores this belief and our commitment to owning Sky. Meg James, latimes.com, "Comcast offers $34 billion for Sky TV, topping a bid from Fox," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 That blacks may do even better underscores the need to dig deeper to find out why, said Dr. Halabi. Angela Helm, The Root, "FBI Agent Accidentally Shoots Man After Doing a Stanky-Leg Induced Backflip in Bar," 3 June 2018 The soundtrack draws heavily from the discography of Japanese indie band The Pillows, whose wistful brand of alt-rock underscores every climactic scene. Stephen Scaife, The Verge, "Cult favorite anime FLCL is back with new episodes — but 15 years later, the original still shines," 2 June 2018 Now, fresh details from Uber’s fatal self-driving car crash in March underscore not just the difficulty of this problem, but its centrality. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "False Positives: Self-Driving Cars and the Agony of Knowing What Matters," 29 May 2018 Awards for most performed themes and underscores went to TV composers Joel Beckerman, Cat Gray, Jared Gutstadt, Jeffrey Lippencott, Didier Lean Rachou, Ed Robertson, Mark Snow, David Vanacore, Mark T. Williams and Hans Zimmer. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "Composers John Powell And Germaine Franco Honored at 33rd Annual ASCAP Screen Music Awards," 24 May 2018 The decision to shut all its domestic stores and provide training underscores the damage done to Starbucks’s reputation for being a socially responsible company, one that sells fair-trade coffee and promotes its stores as a meeting place. Rachel Abrams, New York Times, "Starbucks to Close 8,000 U.S. Stores for Racial-Bias Training After Arrests," 17 Apr. 2018 The urgent request for investigation underscores growing scrutiny on Capitol Hill of the influence of social media on American politics, as well as growing concern over release of the classified GOP memo. Anchorage Daily News, "Top Democrats warn of ‘ongoing attack by the Russian government’ amid push to publish classified GOP memo," 24 Jan. 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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Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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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 \
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).


lying above or upon

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