underbelly

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

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.
    • 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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