[verb uhn-der-skawr, -skohr, uhn-der-skawr, -skohr; noun uhn-der-skawr, -skohr]

verb (used with object), un·der·scored, un·der·scor·ing.

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

First recorded in 1765–75; under- + score
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for underscore

highlight, stress, accentuate, mark, indicate, caption, accent, feature, italicize

Examples from the Web for underscore

Contemporary Examples of underscore

Historical Examples of underscore

  • This is not, repeat, underscore, not an intervention in planetary government.

    A Slave is a Slave

    Henry Beam Piper

  • So we underscore them, putting a single score under k, and a double one under k′.

    Symbolic Logic

    Lewis Carroll

  • I should like to underscore this last sentence, my dears, in view of what comes after.

    Richard Carvel, Complete

    Winston Churchill

  • I underscore the word “hotter,” to denote the prevalent theory.

    The Indian in his Wigwam

    Henry R. Schoolcraft

  • Underscore all of the adjectives in the following quotation.

    Plain English

    Marian Wharton

British Dictionary definitions for underscore


verb (ˌʌndəˈskɔː) (tr)

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

Word Origin and History for underscore

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