Meaning of “undermine” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"undermine" in British English

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undermineverb [ T ]

uk /ˌʌn.dəˈmaɪn/ us /ˌʌn.dɚˈmaɪn/

C2 to make someone less confident, less powerful, or less likely to succeed, or to make something weaker, often gradually:

The president has accused two cabinet members of working secretly to undermine his position/him.
Criticism just undermines their confidence.

More examples

  • A succession of scandals and revelations has undermined the government over the past year.
  • Suddenly she just turned on me and accused me of undermining her.
  • The country's economic position has been seriously undermined by this affair.
  • He's been trying to undermine her position by spreading rumours about her.
  • If you continually criticize children you can seriously undermine their confidence.

(Definition of “undermine” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"undermine" in American English

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undermineverb [ T ]

us /ˌʌn·dərˈmɑɪn/

to gradually weaken or destroy someone or something:

The incompetence and arrogance of the city’s administration have undermined public confidence in government.

(Definition of “undermine” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)