underbelly

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

From under- +‎ belly.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

underbelly (plural underbellies)

  1. The underside of an animal.
    We identified the species of the snake by its blue-grey underbelly.
  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.
    • 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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