"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[uhn-der-mahyn or especially for 1, 2, 4, uhn-der-mahyn] /ˌʌn dərˈmaɪn or especially for 1, 2, 4, ˈʌn dərˌmaɪn/
verb (used with object), undermined, undermining.
to injure or destroy by insidious activity or imperceptible stages, sometimes tending toward a sudden dramatic effect.
to attack by indirect, secret, or underhand means; attempt to subvert by stealth.
to make an excavation under; dig or tunnel beneath, as a military stronghold.
to weaken or cause to collapse by removing underlying support, as by digging away or eroding the foundation.
Origin of undermine
1300-50; Middle English underminen. See under-, mine2
Related forms
underminer, noun
underminingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for undermine
  • And it happens to continue to help undermine the feudal underpinning in a really positive way.
  • One concern is that the findings of brain science will undermine our notion of autonomy and individual responsibility.
  • These smoldering underground fires generate pollution, undermine buildings and occasionally start surface fires.
  • Such an approach incorporates fatal efficiency flaws that undermine the process existentially.
  • Two, especially, were constantly sniping at the chair and seeking to undermine her.
  • The presence of two or more iterations of a mission statement could seriously undermine and devalue their role.
  • And that involvement could undermine the special operators' mission.
  • More important, false positives undermine the efficacy of hand searches.
  • People pay more attention to facts that match their beliefs than those that undermine them.
  • Environmental challenges could undermine the world's largest dam as well.
British Dictionary definitions for undermine


verb (transitive)
(of the sea, wind, etc) to wear away the bottom or base of (land, cliffs, etc)
to weaken gradually or insidiously: their insults undermined her confidence
to tunnel or dig beneath
Derived Forms
underminer, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for undermine

c.1300, undermyne, from under + mine (v.). The figurative sense is attested from early 15c. Cf. Dutch ondermijnen, Danish underminere, German unterminiren. Related: Undermined; undermining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for undermine

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for undermine

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with undermine