un·​der·​ly·​ing | \ ˌən-dər-ˈlī-iŋ How to pronounce underlying (audio) \

Definition of underlying

1a : lying beneath or below the underlying rock is shale
b : basic, fundamental an investigation of the underlying issues
2 : evident only on close inspection : implicit
3 : anterior and prior in claim underlying mortgage
4 : of or being present in deep structure underlying word order

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Examples of underlying in a Sentence

the ocean and the underlying rock the underlying differences between democracy and dictatorship
Recent Examples on the Web Not all journalists seem to agree on the underlying medical facts, either. BostonGlobe.com, 21 Oct. 2021 Not all journalists seem to agree on the underlying medical facts, either. Washington Post, 21 Oct. 2021 Such software could be easily integrated with any system regardless of the underlying technologies and computing environments keeping the workflow intact. Prasanna Singaraju, Forbes, 21 Oct. 2021 In an interview, Colyar said none of the underlying metrics are showing improvement at this point. Matt Egan, CNN, 20 Oct. 2021 The Biden administration wants to block enforcement while a lower court addresses the underlying constitutional questions raised in the challenge to the law. John Fritze, USA TODAY, 18 Oct. 2021 Mutual fund shares are usually priced once a day, based on the value of their underlying assets minus liabilities. Liz Weston, oregonlive, 17 Oct. 2021 Housing advocates with Pittsburgh United say the deficiencies represent deeper underlying problems that should have been addressed years ago. Arkansas Online, 16 Oct. 2021 The underlying facts were first disclosed in an L.A. Times investigation by Ryan and Hamilton of the university’s social work school and its fundraising practices. Los Angeles Times, 15 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underlying.' 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 underlying

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for underlying

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The first known use of underlying was in 1611

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Dictionary Entries Near underlying



underlying bond

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Statistics for underlying

Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Underlying.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underlying. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for underlying



English Language Learners Definition of underlying

used to identify the idea, cause, problem, etc., that forms the basis of something
: lying under or below something


un·​der·​ly·​ing | \ -ˌlī-iŋ How to pronounce underlying (audio) \

Medical Definition of underlying

: serving as a basis or cause (as of secondary symptoms) the underlying brain malformation that caused the hydrocephalus— R. M. Henig

More from Merriam-Webster on underlying

Nglish: Translation of underlying for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of underlying for Arabic Speakers


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