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Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English underfangen, underfongen, undervongen, from Old English underfōn (to receive, obtain, take, accept, take in, entertain, take up, undertake, assume, adopt, submit to, undergo, steal), from Proto-Germanic *under + *fanhaną (to take, receive), equivalent to under- +‎ fang. Cognate with Dutch ondervangen (to overcome, forestall), German unterfangen (to venture, dare).


underfang (third-person singular simple present underfangs, present participle underfanging, simple past and past participle underfanged)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To undertake.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To accept; receive.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To insnare; entrap; deceive by false suggestions.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, V.2:
      For that he is so puissant and so strong, / That with his powre he all doth overgo, / And makes them subject to his mighty wrong; / And some by sleight he eke doth underfong.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To support or guard from beneath.