verb (used with object), undergirded or undergirt, undergirding.
to strengthen; secure, as by passing a rope or chain under and around: to undergird a top-heavy load.
to give fundamental support; provide with a sound or secure basis: ethics undergirded by faith.

1520–30; under- + gird

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World English Dictionary
undergird (ˌʌndəˈɡɜːd)
vb , -girds, -girding, -girded, -girt
(tr) to strengthen or reinforce by passing a rope, cable, or chain around the underside of (an object, load, etc)
[C16: from under- + gird1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
But it will never be time to kiss off the values and principles that undergird
  the idea.
Such pursuits enhance the feelings of meaning and social connection that
  undergird happiness.
Those principles undergird the concept of evidence-based services and
  evidence-based practice.
The exhibit text explains the engineering concepts that undergird the
  construction of the structures.
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