- lying under; placed beneath
- fundamental; basic: the underlying cause
- really there but not easily seen or noticed: an underlying trend
- Finance having priority, as a claim
Layers of soil underlying the grass.
- A layer of minerals in the soil is an example of underlying minerals.
- A lack of educational opportunity is an example of an underlying cause of poverty.
The definition of underlying refers to something lying beneath, or the basic or root cause of something.
- Lying under or beneath something: underlying strata.
- Basic; fundamental: the underlying cause of the problem.
- Present but not readily noticeable: an underlying meaning.
- Taking precedence; prior: an underlying claim to compensation.
- The fossils are few, and in some cases probably derived from the underlying formations.
- The fact that an unprecedented number of earth's inhabitants today live in poverty is an indictment of governments, not a reflection of some underlying natural limit.
- The idea underlying the word, which to us is invested with deep ethical meaning, had only this non-ethical, ritual significance in Ezekiel.
- Tests gave no indication of an underlying cause.
- Neoplatonism owes its form to Plato, but its underlying motive is the widespread feeling of self-despair and the longing for divine illumination characteristic of the age in which it appears.