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

Yet their extended exchanges on topics such as health care reform and immigration underscored that the party is far from agreed on the issues that will likely dominate next year’s contest with Trump. Liz Goodwin, BostonGlobe.com, "Warren shows off policy chops but rivals decline to hit her on packed debate stage," 27 June 2019 San Francisco Mayor London Breed released new data Wednesday to underscore how long, complex approvals drive up housing costs and reduce the number of affordable homes the city can build. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "Breed looks to bolster affordable housing plan by showing how delays boost costs," 26 June 2019 Republicans have tried to downplay the visible cracks in the Bevin administration by using the Beshear event to underscore Edelen's previous criticisms during the primary. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Democrats unite against Matt Bevin as Edelen stands by 'pedophiles' jab at Beshear," 26 June 2019 Meanwhile, his campaign surrogates argued that the comment was similar to anecdotes he's told before to underscore the need to find common ground to make Washington work. Kirk Brown, USA TODAY, "Biden's comments on segregationist Senators loom over big weekend for South Carolina Dems," 21 June 2019 But his visit, and the events that overshadowed it, underscore how difficult that will be. The Economist, "Who is blowing up ships in the Gulf?," 13 June 2019 The incident underscores how different Tesla's corporate culture is from conventional car companies. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Tesla keeps a promise to early Full Self-Driving customers—sort of," 5 June 2019 Yet putting so much weight on storytelling also underscores its limits. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "The Perverse Logic of GoFundMe Health Care," 24 June 2019 The litigation has underscored escalating tensions between federal and state officials over immigration enforcement. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "DAs welcome ruling in ICE case, saying witnesses can now show up without fear of deportation," 21 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sorry, not sorry': Border bill battle underscores Dem civil war Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. Fox News, "Trump blasts media over 'exaggerated' border detention center reports; Dem civil war over border bill," 8 July 2019 Voters in Kazakhstan went to the polls Sunday to vote for a new president in an election critics have called undemocratic and said underscores growing authoritarianism in the former Soviet country. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "Police Detain 100 as Kazakhstan Votes in First Election Since Fall of Soviet Union," 9 June 2019 Angela Merkel’s decision to resettle a million Syrian refugees, and Putin’s alliance with the Assad regime underscore Said’s failure to say anything about German or Russian Orientalism—one of the more persuasive criticisms raised at the time. Adam Shatz, The New York Review of Books, "‘Orientalism,’ Then and Now," 20 May 2019 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

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

11 Jul 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

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