Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To undertake.
  • To accept; receive.
  • To insnare; entrap; deceive by false suggestions.
  • To support or guard from beneath.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive, obsolete To undertake.
  • verb transitive, obsolete To accept; receive.
  • verb transitive, rare To insnare; entrap; deceive by false suggestions.
  • verb transitive, rare To support or guard from beneath.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English underfangen, underfongen, undervongen, from Old English underfōn ("to receive, obtain, take, accept, take in, entertain, take up, undertake, assume, adopt, submit to, undergo, steal"), from Proto-Germanic *under + *fanhanan (“to take, receive”), equivalent to under- +‎ fang. Cognate with Dutch ondervangen ("to overcome, forestall"), German unterfangen ("to venture, dare").

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