Definition of underlie in English:

underlie

Syllabification: un·der·lie
Pronunciation: /ˌəndərˈlī
 
/

verb (underlies, underlying; past underlay; past participle underlain)

[with object]
  • 1(Especially of a layer of rock or soil) lie or be situated under (something).
    More example sentences
    • Most of the mowed fields in the central part of the park are underlain with soil.
    • Canadian vineyards are planted on a wide variety of soil types underlain by diverse bedrock geology.
    • Steep slopes underlain by stony soils form appealing vineyard sites, but they can be susceptible to rapid soil erosion during storms.
  • 1.1Be the cause or basis of (something): the fundamental issue that underlies the conflict (as adjective underlying) the underlying causes of poverty and drug addiction
    More example sentences
    • Well let me take the larger issue that I think underlies the question.
    • But I suspect that what underlies these concerns is a deeper fear about the loss of a sort of stability in the region which they helped craft and maintain.
    • If justiciability is the real issue underlying these terms then this should be faced directly.
    Synonyms

Origin

Old English underlicgan 'be subject or subordinate to' (see under-, lie1).

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