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

  • transitive v. To be located under or below.
  • transitive v. To be the support or basis of; account for: Many factors underlie my decision.
  • transitive v. To constitute a prior financial claim over: Dividends for preferred stock underlie those of common stock.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To lie in a position directly beneath.
  • v. To lie under or beneath.
  • v. To serve as a basis of; form the foundation of.
  • v. To be subject to; be liable to answer, as a charge or challenge.
  • v. To underlay.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See underlay, n., 1.
  • intransitive v. To lie below or under.
  • transitive v. To lie under; to rest beneath; to be situated under.
  • transitive v. To be at the basis of; to form the foundation of; to support.
  • transitive v. To be subject or amenable to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lie in a position directly beneath.
  • To lie under or beneath; be situated under; specifically, in geology, to occupy a lower position than, or to pass beneath: said of stratified rocks over which other rocks are spread out.
  • To be at the basis of; form the foundation of.
  • To lie under, in a figurative sense; be subject to; be liable to answer, as a charge or a challenge.
  • n. See underlye.
  • n. In mining, same as underlay, 1.

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

  • v. be or form the base for
  • v. lie underneath


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English underliggen, from Old English underlicgan ("to underlie, to be subject to, give way to"), equivalent to under- +‎ lie. Cognate with Dutch onderliggen ("to lie below, lie on the bottom of"), German unterliegen ("to lie under, be subject to, succumb").


  • He calls it the "underlying principles" approach, which in his words, "discern [s] from the text the deeper underlying principles that underlie is particular injunctions."


  • December 18, 2006 • 6: 45 pm the shia thug from mumbai her words gilded silence as her thoughts zip by ravishing my soul choking my unborn cry my tongue tie her shut lips her shut mouth her shut doors my pain underlie golden silence imply one sided love blinded in an eye hope runs dry crushed by the weight of another good bye picture shot by mr subash solanki of subash electronics posted 12 oct 2006

    2006 December 18 « bollywoods most wanted photographerno1

  • All the same, the calls underlie the urgency of an Iowa-or-bust race that pits U.S. Rep. rss feed

  • "So when Siri goes out into the Internet looking for what an abortion center is or what an abortion provider is, it hits on these non-abortion-providing organizations because they're the ones who use the word to underlie their websites," Poeter says.


  • The overlapping scales are formed from hairs glued together, there are no dermal plates such as underlie the horny scales of the Armadillo, very much in the same manner as the horn of the Rhinoceros which has no bony core.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • In Australia the term "underlie" is used to designate the angle from the perpendicular at which the lode lies in its enclosing rocks, and by

    Getting Gold: a practical treatise for prospectors, miners and students

  • Often Morris had read or heard of the bewildering power of women, which for his part hitherto he had been inclined to attribute to shallow and very common causes, such as underlie all animate nature.

    Stella Fregelius

  • The three R's of Hebrew love thus show how these people arranged their marriages with reference to social and religious customs or utilitarian considerations, buying their wives by service or otherwise, without any thought of sentimental preferences and sympathies, such as underlie modern Christian marriages of the higher order.

    Primitive Love and Love-Stories

  • This unique debate series will examine this divide and the social, economic, and moral beliefs that underlie politics in America today.

    Miles Rapoport: Watch: Ezra Klein and John A. Allison Debate "Capitalism: Is It Moral?"

  • Best of all, Zafon delves into philosophy, questions of good and evil, the purposes of literature and the personal tragedies that underlie society's troubles.

    Advance reader reviews of The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.