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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a basic/fundamental/underlying assumption
▪ There is a basic assumption in international law that a state will protect its citizens.
an underlying assumption (=a belief that is used as the basis for an idea, but which may not be correct)
▪ There seems to be an underlying assumption in what he says that women are weaker than men.
an underlying motive (=a motive that is not directly stated)
▪ The treaty’s underlying motive was to make Japan a strong ally of the US.
an underlying theme (=one that is important but not very noticeable)
▪ One of the book’s underlying themes is the struggle for human rights.
the fundamental/underlying cause (=the root cause)
▪ The underlying cause of insomnia is often anxiety.
the principle underlying sth
▪ What are the principles underlying this form of treatment?
the underlying aim (=a basic aim, that people sometimes do not notice)
▪ The games all have an underlying aim: survival.
the underlying issue (=the cause, or a more important problem that is related to something)
▪ This research explores some of the underlying issues related to high unemployment.
the underlying/long-term trend (=the trend over a long period of time)
▪ The underlying trend is for rich economies to get richer.
underlying logic (=logic that is important, but not easily noticed)
▪ These word lists show students the underlying logic of English spelling.
▪ The underlying aim may be briefly conceptualized as preventing the need for more intrusive interventions.
▪ The Government's underlying aim is now to get growth back into the economy soas to reverse the rising trend in unemployment.
▪ Income parity is an underlying aim.
▪ Contributors to the trust then have a share in the income and capital appreciation of the underlying assets.
▪ It is the volatility of price of the underlying asset which makes it worthwhile to create the derivative asset.
▪ However, there are some instances where a change of control can affect the underlying assets.
▪ Both of these expressions, however, have rather different underlying assumptions.
▪ In the classroom, cultural analysis encourages students to examine for themselves the underlying assumptions in the texts they are studying.
▪ The underlying assumption appears to be one of integration.
▪ We agree with the underlying assumptions of the Kingman Report and, in essentials, with its conclusions.
▪ Conversely, activities which seem on the surface to be the same may turn out to realize different underlying assumptions.
▪ The underlying assumption of the project is that certain computer-based experiences can help pupils bridge the gap between arithmetical and algebraic thinking.
▪ In the methods I described as essentialist, the underlying assumptions are qualitative rather than quantitative.
▪ Similar underlying assumptions can be found in Chagnon's famous study of the Yanomamo.
▪ The pattern of this agreement and disagreement is what indicates the underlying attitudes.
▪ Thirty and more years later, those underlying attitudes persist as unthinking sympathies and antipathies far below the level of articulate rationality.
▪ While the underlying cause of the riots was multi-faceted deprivation some of the incidents were sparked off by police action.
▪ Here we discuss a different aspect of the problem: their possible underlying cause.
▪ So the underlying cause of the fall in investment is the decline in profitability.
▪ It is therefore seldom appropriate to treat disorders of language and communication by trying to influence presumed underlying causes.
▪ Competition between a large mass of parasites and the host for nutrients may be the underlying cause of this weight loss.
▪ Conventional discussion of the breakup of the boom and its underlying causes are generally inadequate.
▪ The underlying cause of all this was the girl's future.
▪ The underlying concept is that pairs of sentences that have constituents in common can be related to each other by a linguistic transformation.
▪ The underlying concept is that those who have produced a knowledge product should control its dissemination and should benefit economically from it.
▪ Measuring techniques can be learned without fully understanding the underlying concepts.
▪ The underlying ideas are very complicated; they can perhaps be most easily visualized in terms of Schrödinger's cat.
▪ Abolitionists thus aspired to make their actual metropolitan and colonial societies conform more closely to these underlying ideas of order.
▪ But the underlying idea of being at a loose end, or out of the practical swim, is a different matter altogether.
▪ Courts under pressure tend to rely on devices which take attention away from the underlying issues.
▪ My purpose rather is to discuss the underlying issues in general terms and at a somewhat philosophic level.
▪ But they do not bring air to the underlying issues.
▪ Although closely related to the subject-matter of the book, these recur only as underlying issues in the chapters to follow.
▪ This brings us back to the underlying issue in this chapter about welfare and dependency.
▪ However, such a decision on its own would hardly further the present aim of seeking to elucidate underlying issues.
▪ The December demonstrations were called off and order on the campuses was restored, but the underlying issues and grievances remained.
▪ The main underlying issue is the relationship between areas with different levels and stages of development.
▪ Can we even identify, for paraphrase purposes, what the underlying meaning is?
▪ It is the counsellor's task to try to move the discussion to these underlying meanings of words used in anger.
▪ Each of the words in the sentence will be recognised, but they are not easily integrated into an underlying meaning.
▪ They are superficially similar but have very different underlying meanings - different people are doing the pleasing.
▪ Another weakness is the implicit assumption that underlying meaning can always be formulated in words.
▪ To understand appearances we must therefore employ a method which gives us access to the underlying meanings, etc.
▪ If the effects seen in our study are real, the underlying mechanisms are far from clear.
▪ The underlying mechanisms may also be relevant to some chronic neuropathic pain states.
▪ What Lednor and Versloot have done is to unify these unrelated chemical curiosities by suggesting one underlying mechanism.
▪ Rather, the underlying mechanism was class relations, class struggle and the poverty generated by capital's exploitation of wage labour.
▪ Much archaeology involves looking for underlying patterns within a jumble of visual detail.
▪ The underlying philosophy has tried to be selective in aiming at farmers with intermediate and non-viable enterprises.
▪ But once again it overlooks or rejects the underlying philosophy and purpose of a Commission's proposal.
▪ Although there are relationships between the two methods, the underlying philosophies are quite different.
▪ The underlying principle of responsibility that is entailed is scarcely capable of expression in the language of markets.
▪ In treating such a philosophical topic, the underlying principles should have been expanded on, rather than just being described.
▪ Different combinations of ratios and coefficients are required to analyse companies with different activities, although the underlying principles are the same.
▪ This is the basic underlying principle of homoeopathy and the one from which its name is derived.
▪ This last observation allows us to speculate on an underlying principle that might link our two sets of findings.
▪ The underlying principle of such models is that companies that have a financial profile similar to previous failures are themselves at risk.
▪ Some of the Act's underlying principles can support efforts to overcome suspicion between travellers and welfare authorities.
▪ I and my right hon. Friend are grateful for his support for the underlying principle of the Bill.
▪ The second underlying problem is unexpected company collapses, which are popularly assumed to indicate audit failures.
▪ The introduction of Medicare in 1984 improved access to services, but underlying problems remain.
▪ No considered view was offered on the underlying problems of prison conditions that had triggered the riots.
▪ This is not a cure, since the underlying problem has not been tackled.
▪ Neither prosecution nor dismissal really solves the underlying problems, and our emphasis must be on establishing control.
▪ But remember that not all the errors in one category are caused by the same underlying problem.
▪ He conveys vividly the absurdity of a situation, but he is incurious about the underlying processes which shape it.
▪ The roots of these activities remain unconscious to the performer whose attention illuminates the product more than the underlying process.
▪ How are such preferences to be understood in terms of underlying processes?
▪ But to benefit from its more esoteric features you certainly need a good comprehension of the underlying processes.
▪ The underlying rate of inflation, excluding mortgage interest payments, rose from 3.2 percent in January to 3.4 percent in February.
▪ To find the underlying rate of inflation, it is necessary to look past such distortions.
▪ Mr. Lamont My hon. Friend is drawing attention to an important point about the underlying rate of inflation.
▪ Inflation prospects were encouraging following the fall in the headline and underlying rate, which excludes mortgage rates, in April.
▪ The underlying rate, which excludes mortgages, fell 0.2 percent to 3.8 percent - the lowest for four years.
▪ The contention continued for four years and the underlying reason for it was pique.
▪ Unless there is some other underlying reason or hidden illness it will pass in time, as she adjusts to the change.
▪ But we have to look past the mink to find the underlying reasons for the vole's disappearance.
▪ The underlying reasons for these differences are explored in depth in chapters 7 and 8.
▪ And, of course, the desire to improve performance is the underlying reason for studying the management process in organisations.
▪ The aim of the present project is to explain the underlying reasons for that method's success.
▪ The underlying reason, said Andrew Lees of FoE, was over-enrichment with nitrates and phosphates.
▪ Motives Motives, at their simplest, are the underlying reasons why some one is behaving in a particular way.
▪ Admittedly you often do have to search for an underlying structure in Berlioz's work.
▪ Literary theory, drawing on other disciplines, including semiotics and linguistics, seeks for underlying structures and meanings in literature.
▪ All these types reflect their underlying structure and their origin is apparent in their shape.
▪ He would distinguish the various forms in which meaning may be actualised from the underlying structures on which meaning rests.
▪ This sort of learning ignores underlying structure of examples, and it does not try to explain why the regularities occur.
▪ Again there is an underlying theme of likeness tempered with difference; of similarity spiced with variety.
▪ The underlying themes of Adam Smith parallel those of Lord Mansfield, even if there is rarely a coincidence in particulars.
▪ It's his failure to punch home his underlying theme.
▪ The past, however, ranks alongside the patriotic and the religious as a major underlying theme.
▪ The underlying themes have been spelled out already.
▪ One of the underlying themes of corporate planning is the notion of partnership between officers and councillors.
▪ Share prices follow a random walk without any underlying trend. 5.
▪ The annual rate of inflation for June was lower at 3.9%, and the underlying trend appears downward.
▪ Grouping data in this way obscures the underlying trend.
▪ By comparing a series of annual reports the chances of seeing the underlying trends are so much greater.
▪ The prime difference is that Mitroff and Emshoff pursue the underlying values each stakeholder group holds with respect to specific strategies.
▪ But share prices are about supply and demand, and not underlying value.
▪ This says much about the worthwhile underlying values of social work and provides grounds for hope.
▪ When the information becomes publicly available the share price will adjust to reflect the true underlying value of the shares.
▪ Attention is focused on the programme of public sector renewal initiated by Prime Minister Rocard, its underlying values and intellectual coherence.
▪ Here the underlying values of the organization's top management come into operation.
▪ an underlying concern
▪ Climate and geography are the underlying reasons for the region's low level of economic development.
▪ The underlying factor in almost all suicides is the feeling of hopelessness.
▪ They were treating only the symptoms of the disease rather than its underlying cause.
▪ When treating any health problem, it's always important to consider the underlying causes.
▪ Character, which is what geography is about, depends, at root, on the underlying rock.
▪ In treating such a philosophical topic, the underlying principles should have been expanded on, rather than just being described.
▪ Its underlying objective was to improve the man-made environment by testing a range of products.
▪ Life companies have until the end of 1991 to switch their unit trusts into the underlying shares without tax penalties.
▪ Nevertheless, it is helpful to have some underlying semantics by which to judge the laws.
▪ The musical instruments symbolize an underlying harmony behind nature's powers, to which the successful alchemist must himself be attuned.
▪ To the anatomists, the search for order involved the detection of underlying relationships between the structures of different species.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

underlying \un`der*ly"ing\, a.

  1. Lying under or beneath; as, the underlying strata of a locality.

  2. Hence: Fundamental; basic; as, underlying principles; underlying causes.

  3. Implicit; not immediately obvious; requiring careful scrutiny to discover; as, the underlying sarcasm in her seemingly innocuous remark..

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1610s, present participle adjective from underlie.


a. 1 lying underneath 2 basic or fundamental 3 implicit


See underlie

  1. adj. in the nature of something though not readily apparent; "shortcomings inherent in our approach"; "an underlying meaning" [syn: implicit in(p), inherent]

  2. located beneath or below

  3. being or involving basic facts or principles; "the fundamental laws of the universe"; "a fundamental incompatibility between them"; "these rudimentary truths"; "underlying principles" [syn: fundamental, rudimentary]

  1. v. be or form the base for

  2. lie underneath

  3. [also: underlying, underlay, underlain]


In finance, the underlying of a derivative is an asset, basket of assets, index, or even another derivative, such that the cash flows of the (former) derivative depend on the value of this underlying. There must be an independent way to observe this value to avoid conflicts of interest.

According to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)'s Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 133 ( FAS 133) - Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities, an underlying is a specified interest rate, security price, commodity price, foreign exchange rate, index of prices or rates, or other variable (including the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a specified event such as a scheduled payment under a contract). An underlying may be a price or rate of an asset or liability but is not the asset or liability.

Usage examples of "underlying".

No: the change that destroys annuls the form but leaves the underlying substance: and that could not happen to anything except a compound.

When satiric discourse represents the disturbances of culture, the metalinguistic function indicates how language embodies the underlying disorders.

He was merely asserting that the results of a deductive or experimental process could be considered accurate only if the assumptions or source material underlying that process were accurate as well, an element of scientific methodology centuries ahead of its time.

Rather, it was a lightning bolt blasting the moonscape, melting the regolith and its underlying rock, crushing the mantle, vaporizing everything within hundreds of kilometers of ground zero.

Star Trek and Star Wars novelizations, many of which tell lively and entertaining stories, but which, by predesign and stern publishing decree, do nothing at all to advance the underlying series concept beyond its starting point.

Underlying possession, procreation, drive and procurement is our sense of human individuality or ego.

A new dimension is provided to the investigator via the profiling technique, particularly in cases where the underlying motiva tion for the crime may be suddenly hidden from even the more-experienced detective.

He gives considerable weight to the psychosomatic, but the emphasis is always on the underlying intention.

We see in this very fact one of the underlying causes of the great Rationalistic defection.

The air smelled of recently cut lumber and fresh paint, with the underlying redolence of old building.

Adjacent geographical masses would push in to fill the vacuum, just as the underlying, restless, semifluid magma would push up.

His lordship took his cue and Luciana heard again that underlying laughter, appreciating her anything but madonna-like behaviour, encouraging it with the same devilment she had known in the Standish men she had lost.

IQ was 127 and that the pattern of subtest scores was not consistent with any underlying organic problem.

Braver introduces us to some of the scientific issues underlying the aging process, the role of telomerase and whether aging is in fact inevitable.

But when we reach the underlying motives of the exploration and settlement of that continent, do they who sought the sources and the paths to the smell of other tide-waters deserve dispraise or less praise than those who sat thriftily by the Atlantic seashore?