Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To weaken by wearing away a base or foundation: Water has undermined the stone foundations.
  • transitive v. To weaken, injure, or impair, often by degrees or imperceptibly; sap: Late hours can undermine one's health.
  • transitive v. To dig a mine or tunnel beneath.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To excavate the earth beneath, or the part of, especially for the purpose of causing to fall or be overthrown; to form a mine under; to sap.
  • transitive v. Fig.: To remove the foundation or support of by clandestine means; to ruin in an underhand way.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To form a mine under; sap; render unstable by digging or wearing away the foundation of; make an excavation beneath, especially for the purpose of causing to fall, or of blowing up: as, to undermine a wall; a river undermines its banks.
  • Figuratively, to subvert by removing clandestinely the foundation of; injure by invisible, secret, or dishonorable means.
  • To injure, weaken, or destroy insidiously or indirectly; wear away; wear out; sap.
  • n. Same as mine, 2 .
  • n. A cave.

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

  • v. destroy property or hinder normal operations
  • v. hollow out as if making a cave or opening

Etymologies

From under- +‎ mine. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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