- 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 underlie
Now, in the first study of its kind, neuroscientists have pinpointed the brain circuits that underlie unrealistic optimism.Are Optimists Dumber?
October 9, 2011
The concept of impulse control comes from a better understanding of the brain mechanisms that underlie self-restraint.Where's Your Willpower?
November 24, 2010
In Northumberland the same fact appears to underlie the evidence.The Witch-cult in Western Europe
Margaret Alice Murray
Did you ever think what those sleepers are that underlie the railroad?Walden, and On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience
Henry David Thoreau
These were the sort of questions that seemed to underlie the man's spoken words.Robert Elsmere
Mrs. Humphry Ward
A study of Shakespeare's verbs should underlie all exercises in style.Instigations
The Principles of Structure must precede and underlie those of Quality.Talks on Writing English
- 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"
Word Origin and History for underlie
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper