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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English undoinge, undoynge, ondoynge; equivalent to undo +‎ -ing.


undoing (plural undoings)

  1. The act of loosening or unfastening
  2. Ruin; defeat, (also) that which causes defeat or ruin.
    His fatal flaw was his undoing. In a sense he defeated himself.
    • 1912 October, Edgar Rice Burroughs, “Tarzan of the Apes”, in The All-Story, New York, N.Y.: Frank A. Munsey Co., →OCLC; republished as chapter 5, in Tarzan of the Apes, New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, 1914 June, →OCLC:
      So far as the ape was concerned, Sabor reasoned correctly. The little fellow crouched trembling just an instant, but that instant was quite long enough to prove his undoing.
    • 2018 July 3, Phil McNulty, “Colombia 1 - 1 England”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      The extra 30 minutes could not separate the sides and led to a nerve-shredding finale that has so often been England's undoing, with a dismal record of just one win in seven shootouts at major tournaments before this.
  3. Annulment; reversal

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English undoynge, undoand, from Old English undōnde (undoing), from Proto-Germanic *andadōndz, present participle of *andadōną (to undo). Cognate with Dutch ontdoend (undoing).



  1. present participle and gerund of undo