- to lie under or beneath; be situated under.
- to be at the basis of; form the foundation of.
- Grammar. to function as the root morpheme or original or basic form of (a derived form): The form “boy” underlies “boyish.”
- Finance. to be primary to another right or security.
Origin of underlie
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for underlain
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.Mount Rainier
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.Sea-Weeds, Shells and Fossils
- to lie or be placed under or beneath
- to be the foundation, cause, or basis ofcareful planning underlies all our decisions
- finance to take priority over (another claim, liability, mortgage, etc)a first mortgage underlies a second
- to be the root or stem from which (a word) is derived"happy" underlies "happiest"
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper