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 Back in September 2013, Cruz held the floor for nearly a full day to underscore his demand to overturn Obamacare. Dallas News, "Joe Biden in North Texas, ban on refugee resettlement on hold, Texas Dem named impeachment manager," 16 Jan. 2020 To further underscore that distinctive first half, the Chiefs became the only team ever to go into the locker room with a lead after falling behind by 24 points. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "32 things we learned from the divisional round of NFL playoffs," 13 Jan. 2020 This case was obviously a disaster': Boy's death exposes flaw in Kentucky system Dr. Christina Howard, a forensic pediatrician with the University of Kentucky, spoke at the news conference to underscore the severity of the problem. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "Attorney General Daniel Cameron pledges to help reduce Kentucky's high rate of child abuse," 7 Jan. 2020 Gerwig’s answer is to underscore his real desires by ensuring that the movie’s most romantic beat comes not between Laurie and any of the sisters, but between Laurie and all of them, plus Marmee. Philippa Snow, The New Republic, "The Reinvention of Little Women," 1 Jan. 2020 His hesitancy underscored what is now Ms. Klobuchar’s biggest challenge in Iowa: translating curiosity, even traction, into support on caucus night. New York Times, "Klobuchar Is Banking on Iowa Moderates. Her Problem: So Is Buttigieg.," 23 Dec. 2019 When Tom Harkin disclaimed a juror’s role at the Clinton trial, his purpose was not to affect the outcome of the case, but rather to underscore the full scope of the Senate’s decision-making responsibility. Steven Lubet, The Conversation, "When a chief justice reminded senators in an impeachment trial that they were not jurors," 16 Dec. 2019 This is important to underscore given that randomized trials are frequently highlighted as superior in discussions about machine learning work that leverages nonrandomized electronic health data. Sherri Rose, STAT, "Machine learning for clinical decision-making: pay attention to what you don’t see," 12 Dec. 2019 Sondland’s account made clear his refusal to be a fall guy for the administration’s dealings with Ukraine and underscored that officials across the government were aware of the unconventional dialogue. Aamer Madhani, Twin Cities, "Impeachment hearings takeaways: `Everyone was in the loop’," 20 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tannehill’s success and Gase’s failing underscore that. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, "Hyde: Tannehill’s success, Gase’s failure and lesson for these Dolphins | Commentary," 4 Dec. 2019 The huge fourth-quarter write-down underscores the challenge posed by rising production that has prevented energy prices from increasing sharply during a time of increasing global demand. BostonGlobe.com, "Wall Street capped a wobbly day Wednesday with modest gains for stocks, snapping a two-day losing streak for the S&P 500.," 12 Dec. 2019 Though Abt considers it a malign narrative, stressing that a major component of today’s violent-crime problem is black-on-black underscores the tragic irony of African-American victimhood. Barry Latzer, National Review, "The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime," 5 Dec. 2019 The Encore re-edit underscores Coppola’s unsentimental awareness of the complexities in American culture and the ambition of citizens confronting its system. Armond White, National Review, "Coppola’s Cotton Club Encore Remakes American Entertainment," 23 Oct. 2019 That the Fed is considering a rate cut at a moment when the US economy is strong and job market gains are solid underscores Powell and his colleagues’ concern about the future of a record economic expansion. Matt Phillips, BostonGlobe.com, "Fed Chair Powell Signals Openness to Rate Cut, and Stock Market Rallies," 10 July 2019 Nevertheless, the noise created after at least two below-the-radar meetings became known underscores Marechal’s potentially pivotal role in the power politics of the French right. Washington Post, "Rising French far-right star resurfaces and flirts with fire," 8 July 2019 The lineup for the 2019 edition — running Oct. 31 through Nov. 11 — underscores Andreadakis’ outlook. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Thessaloniki Fest Turns 60: Why Organizers Aim to Be "More Dynamic" Toward Cinema's New Era," 7 Sep. 2019 The Musical, which hyperactively slices through over 80 songs in a dizzying array of Top 40 hits to create a theoretically cohesive Broadway underscore for a new stage production based on the fever-dream movie? Alex Suskind, EW.com, "EW Pop Shop: Lana Del Rey is blue, a rare Lauryn Hill feature, and more songs you'll love," 30 Aug. 2019

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

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Underscore.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underscore. Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for underscore


How to pronounce underscore (audio)

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).


a feeling of well-being or elation

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