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[verb uhn-der-skawr, -skohr, uhn-der-skawr, -skohr; noun uhn-der-skawr, -skohr] /verb ˈʌn dərˌskɔr, -ˌskoʊr, ˌʌn dərˈskɔr, -ˈskoʊr; noun ˈʌn dərˌskɔr, -ˌskoʊr/
verb (used with object), underscored, underscoring.
to mark with a line or lines underneath; underline, as for emphasis.
to stress; emphasize:
The recent tragedy underscores the danger of disregarding safety rules.
a line drawn beneath something written or printed.
music for a film soundtrack; background for a film or stage production.
Origin of underscore
1765-75; under- + score Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for underscores
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Italicized text is represented in the etext with underscores thusly.

    Latter-Day Pamphlets Thomas Carlyle
  • This latter theme, with the motive of Fate, underscores the earlier portions of the dialogue between Golaud and Mélisande.

  • Sole in the violent welter of those sheets it had no underscores nor any exclamations.

    This Freedom A. S. M. Hutchinson
  • The sad situation of the smaller and much less industrialized Monocacy in the same summer underscores the point.

    The Nation's River United States Department of the Interior
  • In edition 11, underscores are used to denote words and phrases italicized for emphasis.

    This Side of Paradise F. Scott Fitzgerald
British Dictionary definitions for underscores


verb (transitive) (ˌʌndəˈskɔː)
to draw or score a line or mark under
to stress or reinforce
noun (ˈʌndəˌskɔː)
a line drawn under written matter
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
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Word Origin and History for underscores



1771, "to draw a line under," from under + score (v.). The figurative sense of "to emphasize" is attested from 1891. Noun meaning "a line drawn below (something)" is recorded from 1901.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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