undermine

[uhn-der-mahyn or especially for 1, 2, 4, uhn-der-mahyn]
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:
1300–50; Middle English underminen. See under-, mine2

underminer, noun
underminingly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To undermined
Collins
World English Dictionary
undermine (ˌʌndəˈmaɪn)
 
vb
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
 
under'miner
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

undermine
c.1300, undermyne, from under + mine (v.). The fig. sense is attested from c.1430. Cf. Du. ondermijnen, Dan. underminere, Ger. unterminiren.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
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.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature