underlying meaning

[ 'ʌndə'laiiŋ ] Pronunciation:   "underlying" in a sentence
Adjective: underlying  `úndur'lIing
  1. In the nature of something though not readily apparent
    "an underlying meaning"
    - implicit in, inherent 
  2. Located beneath or below 
  3. Being or involving basic facts or principles
    "underlying principles"
    - fundamental, rudimentary
Verb: underlie (underlay,underlain,underlying)  `úndu'lI
  1. Be or form the base for 
  2. Lie underneath

See also: basic, implicit, inexplicit, subjacent

Type of: be, lie

Encyclopedia: Underlying

AmE / adjective


important in a situation but not always easily noticed or stated clearly:

The underlying assumption is that the amount of money available is limited.

The underlying cause of the crisis was a lack of investment.

2 (Economics ; Finance )

used to describe basic figures, rates, etc. excluding any special effect, event or payment:

Underlying sales growth rose 4.5%.

an increase in underlying pre-tax profits

3 (Finance )

used to describe the items that particular types of investments are based on:

The value of derivatives depends on the value or change in value of an underlying security.

underlying shares/stock/bonds/assets

The asset, measure, or obligation on which a derivative, such as an option or futures contract, is based.

What supports the security or instrument that parties agree to exchange in a derivative contract.

adj : serving as a basis or cause (as of secondary symptoms) ‹the underlying brain malformation that caused the hydrocephalus —R. M. Henig›


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  1. the underlying idea is an appealing one.
  2. the skin can become adherent to the underlying tissues.
  3. their underlying causes and mechanisms are divergent.
  4. the idea underlying the semiconductor counter is old.
  5. rock underlying glaciers is eroded by plucking.

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