underwater

adjective un·der·wa·ter \ ˌən-dər-ˈwȯ-tər , -ˈwä- \
Updated on: 7 Dec 2017

Definition of underwater

1 : lying, growing, worn, performed, or operating below the surface of the water
  • underwater plants
2 : being below the waterline of a ship
3 a : having, relating to, or being a mortgage loan for which more is owed than the property securing the loan is worth
b : having, relating to, or being a stock option for which the price of the option is higher than the current market value of the stock

underwater

adverb

Examples of underwater in a Sentence

  1. underwater plants don't require as much light to grow as surface plants

  2. a vessel designed for underwater exploration

Recent Examples of underwater from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underwater.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of underwater

1627

underwater Synonyms


Financial Definition of UNDERWATER

underwater

What It Is

In the real estate world, underwater means that a property is worth less than what is owed on it.

How It Works

For example, let's say John Doe buys a house for $500,000. He makes a down payment on the house and borrows $400,000 to pay for the rest. Two years later, John loses his job and has to sell the house and move. However, the housing market has slipped in his town, and the house is only worth $300,000 right now. John owes $395,000 on the loan. He is underwater.

Even if he sells the house for $300,000, he would pay off only $300,000 of the loan and would still owe $95,000. Accordingly, if John were to sell the house for $300,000, he would need the bank to agree to write off the remaining $95,000. Thus, if John finds a buyer at $300,000, his lender would need to approve the sale and could even halt the sale if it believes that the house can be sold for more than $300,000. Every dollar below $395,000 is money lost to the lender.

Why It Matters

If a homeowner has to move right away, underwater mortgages can lead to short sales, which can be long and arduous. This is primarily because extra lenders are involved, and the bureaucracy of approving and processing a sale can scare off potential buyers who want to close on a house purchase quickly. However, buyers (that is, people who might want to buy John Doe's $300,000 house, in our example) can often get good deals on homes that have underwater mortgages, because lenders do not want to be in the business of owning real estate, want to be repaid as quickly as possible, and in our case, would rather have $300,000 than foreclose on the house.


UNDERWATER Defined for English Language Learners

underwater

adjective

Definition of underwater for English Language Learners

  • : located, used, done, or happening below the surface of water


UNDERWATER Defined for Kids

1

underwater

adjective un·der·wa·ter \ ˈən-dər-ˈwȯ-tər , -ˈwä- \

Definition of underwater for Students

: lying, growing, worn, performed, or operating below the surface of the water
  • an underwater cave
  • underwater somersaults

2

underwater

adverb un·der·wa·ter \ ˌən-dər-ˈwȯ-tər , -ˈwä- \

Definition of underwater for Students

: under the surface of the water
  • I like to swim underwater.

Law Dictionary

underwater

adjective un·der·wa·ter

legal Definition of underwater

1 : owing more on a mortgage loan than the property securing the loan is worth
  • underwater homeowners
2 : being or relating to a mortgage loan in which more is owed than the property securing the loan is worth
  • underwater mortgages
  • underwater properties


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