Definition of underbelly in English:



  • 1The soft underside or abdomen of an animal.

    • ‘The feathers on its underbelly lightly brushed the lily pads on the surface.’
    • ‘The birds are also known as ‘ghost’ owls for the white face and underbelly feathers that are visible as they fly overhead.’
    • ‘Ruffs and britches disappeared long ago, and there isn't much to distinguish a Balinese from a Siamese today except a wispy fringe on the underbelly and a meek plume of a tail.’
    • ‘Anyway, the North American variety are in the genus Macrobdella, very pretty leeches, sort of an olive colour with a red underbelly and red polka dots going down the back.’
    • ‘Her lithe body whipped around, talons slicing throats and underbellies as she attacked relentlessly.’
    • ‘The most common color is dark brown - slightly brighter on the underbelly than the dorsal surface.’
    • ‘His friend's skin had mottled with rage and his lips were white like the underbelly of a fish.’
    • ‘Color is variable and can range from jet black dorsally with a lighter underbelly to a uniform light gray.’
    • ‘Her body was so perfectly counter-shaded in the soft starlight that even the pure white of her underbelly merged into the picture.’
    • ‘Their feet have very big, sharp claws they use to ‘rip’ the underbellies of larger animals.’
    underside, lower side, underneath, undersurface, undercarriage, underpart, belly
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    1. 1.1 An area vulnerable to attack.
      ‘these multinationals have a soft underbelly’
      • ‘No one thought their forwards would prove to be their soft underbelly.’
      • ‘He can't win, his weak-as-water hesitations and obvious discomfort over the whole affair has exposed his soft underbelly to the electorate and they will probably tear at him like sharks for it.’
      • ‘The soft underbelly of the country's power is its reluctance to take casualties and to pay the costs of rebuilding societies that it invades.’
      • ‘The stock market plunge has slashed at the soft underbelly of the giant insurance companies and pension funds.’
      • ‘Alas, we find the soft underbelly of these groups and their use of the Internet.’
      • ‘Methinks they've shown their soft underbelly.’
      • ‘Back in harness after spells together at Newcastle and with England, the pair aim to inject more steel into a side that is beginning to earn the reputation of having a soft underbelly.’
      • ‘The world is now adopting open standards, which leaves their vast underbelly vulnerable.’
      • ‘Her questions were quick as a flash, like a salesman's flow chart, until she got the punters vulnerable underbelly.’
      • ‘Conflicts of interest remain a soft spot in the underbelly of politics and journalism.’
      • ‘Was Georgia a wholesome, egalitarian Utopia or an expedient way to harden the soft underbelly of the Southern colonies?’
      • ‘And these people shrewdly, you know, found what would be in temporal terms the soft underbelly of the American media.’
      • ‘The timing was razor sharp, striking right on the soft underbelly of Scotland's tender new born sensibilities.’
      • ‘When it comes to competitive production, the advent of the free trade area has exposed the manufacturers' underbelly again.’
      • ‘Some people referred to it as a soft underbelly - whatever that is - but make no mistake about it, over the last few years Kerry teams have not performed for the full game.’
      • ‘It claims the party's policy underbelly is economic risk, cuts to public services and charges for hospital operations.’
      • ‘‘The corporate database is the soft underbelly of corporate Ireland,’ Reynolds said.’
      • ‘By hijacking the legitimate connection to a traditional wired computer network, hackers might be able to exploit the soft underbelly of corporate networks and launch even more invasive attacks.’
      • ‘I think that Currie reckoned we had something of a soft underbelly up front but we took them to the cleaners.’
      • ‘And maybe some fans will reject their heroes because they don't want to see their soft underbelly.’
      fatal flaw, achilles heel, weakness, weak point, weak spot, soft underbelly, failing, blight, misfortune, affliction, trouble, curse
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    2. 1.2 A hidden unpleasant or criminal part of society.
      ‘the dark underbelly of a ghetto’
      • ‘Last week saw the launch of Ireland's first ever dedicated crime magazine, a publication that aims to tap into the public's fascination with the underbelly of society.’
      • ‘Even in a small berg like St. Louis, the underbelly of society, still could manage to find you if they looked hard enough.’
      • ‘However, it was written to portray the seedy underbelly of society in a slapstick kind of way.’
      • ‘In order to satisfy Kip's debt to society's dark underbelly, Raines must come out of retirement and steal 50 cars in three days.’
      • ‘One by one, its children learn of their society's dark underbelly and so become adults.’
      • ‘The dark underbelly was much more entertaining than the tourist attractions.’
      • ‘Carmen, Baby is a spicy tale of crime and punishment, set against a backbone of high society and seamy underbellies.’
      • ‘His latest novel, Lullaby hit bookshelves in the quietest of fashions, and, again, deals with the darker underbelly of American life.’
      • ‘Set in the summer of 1978 amid a vivid Italian landscape of yellow cornfields and blue skies, this film looks at the dark underbelly of the world through a child's eyes.’
      • ‘The next thing you know, little league games will be marred by sports betting, immersed in the dark underbelly of gambling.’
      • ‘His avowed aim is to write about, ‘people whose stories are seldom told, because they constitute the underbelly of society.’’
      • ‘They come from the gritty underbelly of society where one has to be tough in order to survive.’
      • ‘All of them are in the underbelly of society and that appealed to me.’
      • ‘Although the dance epitomises the glamour and elegance of high society, the Argentine tango originated in the underbelly of society - its brothels.’
      • ‘Downstairs, life is also quite formal but the servants are closer to the underbelly of society, the whispers and the rumours.’
      • ‘You work your way through the criminal underbelly of a city, jacking cars and committing all kinds of felonies as you make your way to the top.’
      • ‘I've seen a small glimpse of the underbelly of our consumer based society and it's not nice.’
      • ‘As a look at the dark underbelly of the record industry, and a self-defeating ego, it's fascinating stuff, and should be required viewing for anyone who has ever thought about joining a band.’
      • ‘She finds friendship with a homeless boy, but the two find that friendship is not enough to get by on in the dark underbelly of Russia's rough and unforgiving streets.’
      • ‘The main people who are using cocaine in this area now are what would be described as the underbelly of society.’