[ uhn-der-lahy-ing ]
See synonyms for underlying on Thesaurus.com
  1. lying or situated beneath, as a substratum.

  2. fundamental; basic: the underlying cause of their discontent.

  1. implicit; discoverable only by close scrutiny or analysis: an underlying seriousness in his witticisms.

  2. (of a claim, mortgage, etc.) taking precedence; anterior; prior.

  3. Linguistics. belonging to an earlier stage in the transformational derivation of a sentence or other structure; belonging to the deep structure.

Origin of underlying

First recorded in 1605–15; underlie + -ing2

Words Nearby underlying

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use underlying in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for underlying


/ (ˌʌndəˈlaɪɪŋ) /

  1. concealed but detectable: underlying guilt

  2. fundamental; basic

  1. lying under

  2. finance (of a claim, liability, etc) taking precedence; prior

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