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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English underfangen, underfongen, undervongen, from Old English underfōn (to receive, obtain, take, accept, take in, entertain, take up, undertake, assume, adopt, submit to, undergo, steal), from Proto-Germanic *under + *fanhaną (to take, receive), equivalent to under- +‎ fang. Cognate with Dutch ondervangen (to overcome, forestall), German unterfangen (to venture, dare).


underfang (third-person singular simple present underfangs, present participle underfanging, simple past and past participle underfanged)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To undertake.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To accept; receive.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To insnare; entrap; deceive by false suggestions.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, V.2:
      For that he is so puissant and so strong, / That with his powre he all doth overgo, / And makes them subject to his mighty wrong; / And some by sleight he eke doth underfong.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To support or guard from beneath.