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under- +‎ pin.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌʌn.dəˈpɪn/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌʌn.dɚˈpɪn/, /ˈʌn.dɚˌpɪn/
  • (file)
  • (file)


underpin (third-person singular simple present underpins, present participle underpinning, simple past and past participle underpinned)

  1. (transitive) To support from below with props or masonry.
    You should underpin the mine roof to prevent further collapse.
  2. (transitive, figuratively) To give support to; to corroborate.
    Public confidence in politicians must underpin our democracy.
    • 2016 October 24, Owen Gibson, “Is the unthinkable happening – are people finally switching the football off?”, in The Guardian[1], London:
      Since Rupert Murdoch famously bet the farm on Premier League football to rescue Sky TV in 1991, it has been the catnip that has underpinned subscriber loyalty and, even in a far more complicated media landscape, is seen as so vital as to be worth almost any price.
    • 2019 November 6, “Eurostar reports another increase in passengers”, in Rail, page 25:
      The operator said the results were underpinned by a 16% increase in Q3 sales from North America.