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

More broadly, the change underscores the card networks’ campaigns to encourage consumers to ditch cash, even for small purchases. Annamaria Andriotis, WSJ, "JPMorgan Wants Card Customers to Pay With a Tap," 14 Nov. 2018 Beyond a fantasy kitchen’s bells and whistles, Porowski underscores the poignant value of a gathering place to cook. Vogue, "Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski on his Dream Kitchen—And Why Ample Counter Space, a Massive Butcher Block, and “the Biggest Fridge Ever” Are Musts," 9 Nov. 2018 But the scale of the challenge only underscores the need to do something now. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 The brand's announcement this morning underscores just what a landmark year 2018 has been for cruelty-free advocates. Deanna Pai, Glamour, "CoverGirl Just Announced It's Now Entirely Cruelty-Free," 5 Nov. 2018 Warner’s initiative underscores one of the most important elements of curating a family history: preserving the material. William Middleton, Town & Country, "From Gates to Rockefeller, Wealthy Families Hire Personal Historians to Preserve Their Legacy," 26 Oct. 2018 The escalating conflict underscores how high the stakes are in the ongoing struggle over who has the right to use public streets and how. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Silicon Valley may have a Saudi Arabia problem," 12 Oct. 2018 This book's lesson, in particular, underscores what they've been taught time and again while working on Property Brothers. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Weigh In: Which Property Brother Builds The Better Bookends?," 10 Oct. 2018 Lankford's Grocery & Market At Lankford Grocery & Market in Montrose, an old-fashioned Coca-Cola underscores the divey atmosphere, and there are hoards of people trying to find an open picnic table. Diana Oates, Condé Nast Traveler, "20 Best Restaurants in Houston," 1 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

28 Nov 2018

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 \
underscored; underscoring

Kids Definition of underscore

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