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English definition of “underpin”

underpin

verb [T] uk   /ˌʌn.dəˈpɪn/ us    /-dɚ-/ (-nn-)
formal or specialized architecture to give support, strength, or a basic structure to something: He presented the figures to underpin his argument. Gradually the laws that underpinned (= formed part of the basic structure of) apartheid were abolished. When restoring the building, the first priority was to underpin the exterior walls by adding wooden supports along the foundations.
underpinning
noun [C or U] uk   /ˈʌn.dəˌpɪn.ɪŋ/ us    /-dɚ-/
After a while, we found ourselves questioning the spiritual and philosophical underpinning of the American way of life.
(Definition of underpin from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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