- lying or situated beneath, as a substratum.
- fundamental; basic: the underlying cause of their discontent.
- implicit; discoverable only by close scrutiny or analysis: an underlying seriousness in his witticisms.
- (of a claim, mortgage, etc.) taking precedence; anterior; prior.
- Linguistics. belonging to an earlier stage in the transformational derivation of a sentence or other structure; belonging to the deep structure.
Origin of underlying
- 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 underlying
But there is an underlying feeling that the worst is yet to come.Europe’s Islam Haters Say We Told You So
Barbie Latza Nadeau
January 8, 2015
Political tensions are underlying every move in Nigeria, where, in February, the next presidential candidates will be nominated.The New Face of Boko Haram’s Terror: Teen Girls
December 13, 2014
Some were elderly with underlying conditions like hypertension and diabetes.Did This Flu Vaccine Kill 13?
Barbie Latza Nadeau
December 2, 2014
Underlying all of this legal maneuvering is the social fact that marriages are hard to undo.Gay Marriage Chaos Begins
November 11, 2014
The underlying economic factors that cause deficits to shrink often create circumstances that push them to shrink even faster.The Battle of the Deficit Bulge Has Been Won
October 6, 2014
It is plain (suggested Socrates), they do not know the underlying meaning.The Symposium
The underlying causes for the conduct, life and end of Apicius have not been told.
Sanitation, not the word, but the underlying idea, was taught by precept and example.The Negro Farmer
An underlying tendency can be discerned in well-organized knowledge.College Teaching
Yet underlying all this there ran a vein of good cheer, of hopefulness.Ox-Team Days on the Oregon Trail
- concealed but detectableunderlying guilt
- fundamental; basic
- lying under
- finance (of a claim, liability, etc) taking precedence; prior
- 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 underlying
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper