Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Small trees, shrubs, or similar plants growing beneath the taller trees in a forest.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The small trees and other plants that clutter the floor of a forest.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Shrubs, small trees, and the like, in a wood or forest, growing beneath large trees; undergrowth.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To work in the underbrush, as in cutting and clearing; clear away underbrush from.
  • n. Shrubs and small trees growing under large trees in a wood or forest; brush; undergrowth.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the brush (small trees and bushes and ferns etc.) growing beneath taller trees in a wood or forest

Etymologies

under- +‎ brush (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Back early part of December, you've had House and Senate staff starting to meet Democratic staff, starting to thrash out what they call the underbrush -- sort of the easier parts of these Bills where most of the things were the same.

    All Kaiser Health News

  • It knocked down so many trees that the underbrush is now so thick you can hardly get in the woods.

    What Happened to Squirrel Hunting?

  • Is religion just an extension of the valid suspicion that any rustling in the underbrush could be a beast coming to eat you?

    Jeff Dorchen: Study Proves Other People Are Even Worse Than We Thought

  • Lost in the underbrush is the reality that the architecture of FISA was shaped not only to protect the privacy of Americans but also to give the White House considerable latitude in pursuing time-urgent opportunities.

    The Constitution: Checking a Would-Be King

  • In order to preserve these forest-trees, the underbrush, which is liable to make a conflagration in a dry season, should be removed generally, and the view of the great features be left unimpeded.

    Our Italy

  • In a bee-line, through the underbrush, which is peculiarly dense, very thorny, and very aggressive in that locality, a full half hour was necessary.

    Les Miserables, Volume V, Jean Valjean

  • Careful studies of silt prove beyond doubt that its primal cause is the removal of the forest cover, such as underbrush, weeds, and grasses, along the streams, which allows the rainfall to run off rapidly.

    McClure's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 3, July 1908.

  • This forest stretched for miles, overshadowing, as a kind of underbrush, many smaller trees and innumerable shrubs, some of which bore bright, conspicuous flowers.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 105, July 1866

  • A few seasons suffice for the total extirpation of the "underbrush," including the young trees on which alone the reproduction of the forest depends, and all the branches of those of larger growth which hang within reach of the cattle are stripped of their buds and leaves, and soon wither and fall off.

    Earth as Modified by Human Action, The~ Chapter 03 (historical)

  • Yes, this was the "underbrush" which the poetess had described: the gloom above and below, the light that seemed blown through it like the wind, the suggestion of hidden life beneath this tangled luxuriance, which she alone had penetrated, -- all this was here.

    A Sappho of Green Springs

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