Try Our Apps


Pore Over vs. Pour Over


[uhn-der-pin-ing] /ˈʌn dərˌpɪn ɪŋ/
a system of supports beneath a wall or the like.
Often, underpinnings. a foundation or basis:
to uncover the emotional underpinnings of an illness.
underpinnings, Informal.
  1. underwear, especially women's underwear.
  2. the legs.
Origin of underpinning
1480-90; under + pin + -ing1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for underpinnings
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The gate of the nameless mausoleum had not been opened for many years, and the wind had heaped the dirt against the underpinnings.

    The Enemies of Women Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • That ship you talked of is awfully plated up topside, but all her underpinnings are pretty weak.

    A Fleet in Being Rudyard Kipling
  • Clank, the presses begin again, and all afternoon I iron gentlemen's underpinnings.

    Working With the Working Woman Cornelia Stratton Parker
  • You will have cut the underpinnings from beneath the American dollar.

    Damned If You Don't Gordon Randall Garrett
British Dictionary definitions for underpinnings


plural noun
any supporting structure or system


a structure of masonry, concrete, etc, placed beneath a wall to provide support
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 underpinnings



late 15c., "action of supporting or strengthening from beneath," from under + present participle of pin (v.). Figurative sense of "prop, support" is recorded from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for underpinnings

under one's nose

adverb phrase

In plain sight, although unnoticed: I'm afraid I may be missing something that's right under my nose (1548+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for underpinning

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for underpinnings

Scrabble Words With Friends