(third-person singular simple present underlies, present participle underlying, simple past underlay, past participle underlain)
- (intransitive) To lie in a position directly beneath.
- A stratum of clay underlies the surface gravel.
- To lie under or beneath.
- To serve as a basis of; form the foundation of.
- a doctrine underlying a theory
- To be subject to; be liable to answer, as a charge or challenge.
- (mining) To underlay.
From Middle English underliggen, from Old English underlicgan (“to underlie, to be subject to, give way to"), equivalent to under- +"Ž lie. Cognate with Dutch onderliggen (“to lie below, lie on the bottom of"), German unterliegen (“to lie under, be subject to, succumb").