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undermine

[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.
1.
to injure or destroy by insidious activity or imperceptible stages, sometimes tending toward a sudden dramatic effect.
2.
to attack by indirect, secret, or underhand means; attempt to subvert by stealth.
3.
to make an excavation under; dig or tunnel beneath, as a military stronghold.
4.
to weaken or cause to collapse by removing underlying support, as by digging away or eroding the foundation.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English underminen. See under-, mine2
Related forms
underminer, noun
underminingly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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

undermine

/ˌʌndəˈmaɪn/
verb (transitive)
1.
(of the sea, wind, etc) to wear away the bottom or base of (land, cliffs, etc)
2.
to weaken gradually or insidiously: their insults undermined her confidence
3.
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
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Word Origin and History for undermine
v.

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
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