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[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.
1300-50; Middle English underminen. See under-, mine2
Related forms
underminer, noun
underminingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for undermined
  • Scientists say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information from e-mail and other interruptions.
  • Then came the recession and a series of state budget cuts, which undermined the university's ambitions.
  • He notes that great scientific breakthroughs in the past have undermined humanity's belief that it is special.
  • The report cites numerous examples of nature reserves whose purpose of wildlife protection is being seriously undermined.
  • Tara is in no way threatened or undermined by this necessary development.
  • Rebel groups share common goals but are undermined by local rivalries.
  • And insofar as the best scholarly work is logical and objective, our ability to produce sound scholarly work is undermined.
  • Finally, the small, easy-to-wield wooden fork has its entire point undermined when saddled with this giant handle.
  • But lately, as the idea of the album as an artistic unit has been undermined by the music.
  • Perhaps they unconsciously said things in the reference call that undermined his candidacy.
British Dictionary definitions for undermined


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
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Word Origin and History for undermined



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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