/un"deuhr bel'ee/, n., pl. underbellies.
1. the lower abdomen; posterior ventral area, as of an animal's body.
2. the lower surface of an object; underside: the underbelly of an airplane.
3. a vulnerable area; weak point: an attack on the soft underbelly of Europe.
4. a dark, seamy, often hidden area or side: a police officer continually exposed to the underbelly of society.
[1600-10; UNDER- + BELLY]

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • underbelly — (n.) c.1600, from UNDER (Cf. under) + BELLY (Cf. belly). In figurative sense of most vulnerable part it is recorded from Churchill s 1942 speech. Sometimes used erroneously in sense of seamy or sordid part of anything …   Etymology dictionary

  • underbelly — ► NOUN (pl. underbellies) 1) the soft underside or abdomen of an animal, especially vulnerable to attack. 2) a hidden unpleasant or criminal part of society …   English terms dictionary

  • underbelly — [un′dər bel΄ē] n. 1. the lower, posterior part of an animal s belly 2. any vulnerable or unprotected area, region, point, etc …   English World dictionary

  • underbelly — [[t]ʌ̱ndə(r)beli[/t]] underbellies 1) N COUNT: usu with supp, usu N of n The underbelly of something is the part of it that can be most easily attacked or criticized. The ANC are attacking rugby because it is the soft underbelly of South African… …   English dictionary

  • underbelly — un|der|bel|ly [ˈʌndəˌbeli US ər ] n [singular] literary 1.) the unpleasant parts of a place or society that are normally hidden underbelly of ▪ photographs that capture the underbelly of the United States its poverty, its injustice, and its… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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