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The head and underbelly (sense 1) of an oriental ratsnake (Pytas mucosa)

under- +‎ belly



underbelly (plural underbellies)

  1. The underside of an animal.
    We identified the species of the snake by its blue-grey underbelly.
    • 1952 September, Philip K[indred] Dick, “The Gun”, in Planet Stories, New York, N.Y.: Love Romances Publishing Company, OCLC 4901484; republished as The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, volume 1 (Beyond Lies the Wub), Los Angeles, Calif.: Underwood–Miller, 1987, →ISBN:
      The soft underbelly of the dragon. In the legend, the dragon's armor doesn't cover its stomach.
    • 2015, Michael Tennesen, The Next Species: The Future of Evolution in the Aftermath of Man, New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, →ISBN; trade paperback edition, New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2016, →ISBN, page 120:
      The biologist and his team were greeted by a nonstop squid review, with Humboldt squid darting in toward the boat and flashing their underbellies in attempts to lure small schooling fish near the surface.
  2. The underside of any thing.
  3. (figuratively) The side which is not normally seen, normally a dark, immoral place.
    The area by the canal is the underbelly of town – not something you’d see in the guidebooks.
    • 1967, Boyd C. Shafer; Richard A. McLemore; Everett Auspurger; Kenneth E. Miller, “World Cataclysm and the United States”, in Manual, Test, and Answers for 1865 to the Present: A United States History for High Schools, teachers’ edition, River Forest, Ill.: Laidlaw Brothers, OCLC 9064787, page 98, column 2:
      In order to take the initiative, military leaders from Great Britain and the United States decided to attack in Africa, cross the Mediterranean, and move up against the "soft underbelly" of German-dominated Europe.
    • 2006 February 14, “Organizational Vulnerabilities and Recommendations to Exploit Them”, in Harmony and Disharmony: Exploiting al-Qa’ida’s Organizational Vulnerabilities, [West Point, N.Y.]: Combating Terrorism Center, Department of Social Sciences, United States Military Academy, OCLC 831966810, page 53:
      The documents in this report reveal how such doctrinal disagreements have historically driven wedges within the upper echelons of al-Qa'ida. It is this intra-movement contention that comprises the soft underbelly of violent jihad, which can be exploited to great ends.
    • 2017 January 26, Christopher D. Shea, “‘T2 Trainspotting’: The Early Reviews”, in The New York Times[1], archived from the original on 22 February 2017:
      Twenty-one years after the movie "Trainspotting" gave the world a glimpse into Edinburgh's seedy, heroin-filled underbelly, the franchise is back on the map with “T2 Trainspotting.”


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