• WordNet 3.6
    • v undermine hollow out as if making a cave or opening "The river was caving the banks"
    • v undermine destroy property or hinder normal operations "The Resistance sabotaged railroad operations during the war"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Undermine Fig.: To remove the foundation or support of by clandestine means; to ruin in an underhand way; as, to undermine reputation; to undermine the constitution of the state. "He should be warned who are like to undermine him."
    • Undermine To excavate the earth beneath, or the part of, especially for the purpose of causing to fall or be overthrown; to form a mine under; to sap; as, to undermine a wall. "A vast rock undermined from one end to the other, and a highway running through it."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • undermine To form a mine under; sap; render unstable by digging or wearing away the foundation of; make an excavation beneath, especially for the purpose of causing to fall, or of blowing up: as, to undermine a wall; a river undermines its banks.
    • undermine Figuratively, to subvert by removing clandestinely the foundation of; injure by invisible, secret, or dishonorable means.
    • undermine To injure, weaken, or destroy insidiously or indirectly; wear away; wear out; sap.
    • n undermine Same as mine, 2 .
    • n undermine A cave.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Undermine un-dėr-mīn′ to form mines under, in order to destroy: to destroy secretly the foundation or support of anything
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  • Philip Roth
    “Undermining experience, embellishing experience, rearranging and enlarging experience into a species of mythology.”
  • Michael Wakcher
    Michael Wakcher
    “The sweetness of victory is undermined only by its lack of nutritional content.”


In literature:

Her health was perfectly good when we were first arrested, though vexation, more than confinement, has contributed to undermine it.
"A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, Part IV., 1795" by An English Lady
Her health was perfectly good when we were first arrested, though vexation, more than confinement, has contributed to undermine it.
"A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, Complete" by An English Lady
At Verdun, fever after my wound undermined my strength, and smallpox attacked me.
"The World's Greatest Books, Vol IX." by Edited by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton
He felled the feudal class in Ireland and undermined them in England.
"The Glories of Ireland" by Edited by Joseph Dunn and P.J. Lennox
It was consequently undermined and reduced to its present state of ruin.
"Account of a Tour in Normandy, Vol. II. (of 2)" by Dawson Turner
The bricks jammed even when they were undermined, and the wall was four bricks thick to its further side.
"A Master of Fortune" by Cutcliffe Hyne
He was suffering much at this time from gout, and his general health was undermined by anxiety.
"The World's Greatest Books, Vol X" by Various
Covered galleries were soon brought up; the wall was undermined, and, at the same time, shaken with battering rams.
"History of Rome, Vol III" by Titus Livius
Our rivals are undermining our success.
"The Man Who Laughs" by Victor Hugo
They saw in Him a man who was setting himself to undermine their whole authority.
"Our Lady Saint Mary" by J. G. H. Barry

In poetry:

Proceeded on with no less art —
My tongue was engineer;
I thought to undermine the heart
By whispering in the ear.
"The Siege" by John Suckling
He made all; yea, he made all thine,
All to thee shall be giv'n.
Who can thy kingdom undermine?
Thy Husband made the heav'n.
"The Believer's Jointure : Chapter II." by Ralph Erskine
The grave sadness that o'erwhelms thee
Will, unless it be resisted,
Undermine thy understanding,
If thou hast it still within thee.
"The Two Lovers Of Heaven: Chrysanthus And Daria - Act I" by Denis Florence MacCarthy
And when I stopped to bathe my face,
And seat me at a great tree's foot,
I heard the stream say, "Mark the place:
And undermine it rock and root."
"The Speckled Trout" by Madison Julius Cawein
Under an undermined and shot-bruised wall
A too-bold captain perish'd by the fall,
Whose brave misfortune happiest men envied,
That had a town for tomb, his bones to hide.
"Fall of a Wall" by John Donne
Deceitful worm, that undermines the clay,
Which slyly steals the thoughtless soul away,
Pervading neighborhoods with sad surprise,
Like sudden storms of wind and thunder rise.
"On Death" by George Moses Horton

In news:

Good Fortune is a provocative exploration of how massive international efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa may be undermining the very communities they aim to benefit.
First, Conservatives will find new ammunition in the attempt to undermine the Court.
Guest blogger Laura Seay, during visit to the Congolese city of Goma, looks into allegations that the ongoing rebellion of Bosco Ntaganda is a conspiracy to undermine Congolese control.
Don't let geolocation undermine your own safety.
Don't let geolocation coordinates undermine your own safety.
Against this backdrop, it seems almost pointless to note that there is a math problem undermining boxing.
Her paintings and photographs undermine fashion images, but they also blur the line between commercial work and art.
Taliban 'Protection Money': Supply Line Strategy or Stability Underminer .
Chris Christie undermining Highlands Act with unqualified director.
Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger Gov Chris Christie's actions may undermine the Highlands Act.
Sanctions may not bring Tehran to heel on nuclear arms, but they can undermine the regime.
It has dangerous symbolic and practical consequences and undermines the cooperation necessary to disrupt and defeat al-Qaeda plots on our shores.
Sudan's Darfur , the World Health Organization said, a region where fighting has undermined access to healthcare.
Dental fear among children is a big problem for dentists and can undermine children's oral health by causing them to avoid dental care.
At issue is whether the Obama administration's new waivers, allowing states to experiment with alternative work requirements, will undermine the historic welfare reform program.

In science:

Both main properties of Newton’s mass-concept got undermined.
Origins of Mass
The distribution of spots could also be strongly uneven in latitude, undermining the α = < α(cid:48) > relation used for the infrared transit.
The prevalence of dust on the exoplanet HD 189733b from Hubble and Spitzer observations
When account is taken of the binding energy of the overlying star (Figure 5) these energies could be negative, potentially undermining these state-of-the-art 2D simulations as viable supernova explosion models.
Perspectives on Core-Collapse Supernova Theory
Helbing (2011), How social influence can undermine the wisdom of crowd effect.
Thus the truth of the HH conjecture would undermine the thought experiment designed to prove the existence of firewalls. A possible way out of the computational complexity constraint was suggested in and probably by several other people.
Black Hole Complementarity and the Harlow-Hayden Conjecture