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Meaning of underlying

un•der•ly•ing

Pronunciation: (un'dur-lī"ing), [key]
— adj.
  1. lying or situated beneath, as a substratum.
  2. fundamental; basic: the underlying cause of their discontent.
  3. implicit; discoverable only by close scrutiny or analysis: an underlying seriousness in his witticisms.
  4. (of a claim, mortgage, etc.) taking precedence; anterior; prior.
  5. belonging to an earlier stage in the transformational derivation of a sentence or other structure; belonging to the deep structure.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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