to undermine someone


Senior Member
The quotation comes from

Quotation: Hillary Clinton’s advisers are talking to Donald J. Trump’s ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal,” seeking insights about Mr. Trump’s deepest insecurities as they devise strategies to needle and undermine him in four weeks at the first presidential debate, the most anticipated in a generation.
Hi everyone! How to make clear the bold part. I'm familiar with "to undermine someone's confidence, etc.". But as to "to undermine someone", I'm a little confused.
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    To undermine is to weaken. You can weaken an argument or someone's confidence, but you can also weaken a person.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    They also talk about "getting under his skin". I think the idea is more literally to under-mine him (dig underneath him, thus weakening the ground he stands on), via his "deep insecurities", and bring him crashing down.
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