Definition of underlie in English:


Pronunciation /ˌəndərˈlī/ /ˌəndərˈlaɪ/

Translate underlie into Spanish

transitive verbunderlies, underlying, underlay, underlain

[with object]
  • 1Be a significant cause or basis of (something) even if not necessarily manifest or obvious.

    ‘the fundamental issue that underlies the conflict’
    • ‘the fear of loss underlay his extreme jealousy’
  • 2(especially of a layer of rock or soil) lie or be situated under (something)

    • ‘limestone underlies much of the site’


Old English underlicgan ‘be subject or subordinate to’ (see under-, lie).