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underlie

[uhn-der-lahy]
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verb (used with object), un·der·lay, un·der·lain, un·der·ly·ing.
  1. to lie under or beneath; be situated under.
  2. to be at the basis of; form the foundation of.
  3. Grammar. to function as the root morpheme or original or basic form of (a derived form): The form “boy” underlies “boyish.”
  4. Finance. to be primary to another right or security.

Origin of underlie

before 900; Middle English underlyen (v.), Old English underlicgan. See under-, lie2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for underlain

Historical Examples

  • It is underlain by an unrealized wealth that may never be brought to light.

    The Booklover and His Books

    Harry Lyman Koopman

  • They are underlain by rounded bosses of especially resistant rock.

  • By far the larger portion of the surface of the continent is underlain by them.

    North America

    Israel C. Russell

  • He felt what had underlain the words, and it was a hard blow to him.

    Mercy Philbrick's Choice

    Helen Hunt Jackson

  • Each coal seam is underlain by a bed of clay called "under-clay," containing the roots of the plants that grew on it.


British Dictionary definitions for underlain

underlie

verb -lies, -lying, -lay or -lain (tr)
  1. to lie or be placed under or beneath
  2. to be the foundation, cause, or basis ofcareful planning underlies all our decisions
  3. finance to take priority over (another claim, liability, mortgage, etc)a first mortgage underlies a second
  4. to be the root or stem from which (a word) is derived"happy" underlies "happiest"
Derived Formsunderlier, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for underlain

underlie

v.

Old English under licgan "to be subordinate to, to submit to;" see under + lie (v.2). Meaning "to lie under or beneath" is attested from c.1600; figurative sense of "to be the basis of" is attested from 1852 (implied in underlying).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper