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underground railroad

A secret network for moving and housing fugitives, as in There's definitely an underground railroad helping women escape abusive husbands. This term, dating from the first half of the 1800s, alludes to the network that secretly transported runaway slaves through the northern states to Canada. It was revived more than a century later for similar escape routes.

go underground

in. to go into hiding; to begin to operate in secret. The entire operation went underground, and we heard no more about it.
See also: underground
References in periodicals archive ?
The underground process of Ellisoh's hibernating narrator emerges as the oral/syndetic process of John's ancestral invocation emerges in print.
Through individual narrative quests, two of the most common and potentially debilitating modem, European cultural impositions are accented: first, the belief in the epistemological superiority of underground solitude; second, the flawed assumption that reflective subjectivity entails an immobile state of introspective concentration.
While in Invisible Man, the narrator's naivete leads him toward uncritical adoption of aboveground positions in the city, leading to revelatory explosions which push him underground, John Washington has managed to freeze one of Ellison's dialectical explosions and carve within it a professional place for himself as an invisible historian in the American academy.
Before Judith's arrival in the underground, John's hunting trip signals the beginnings of the process in which the distinctions of Jack's world give way to the fluid syndetic sensibilities of Moses's plura-dimensional psyche.
Losing track of the subtle, fragile, work done "alone" in the woods, John confronts Judith's defensive prying by asserting his commitment to the fundamental separation between his underground process and his aboveground life, symbolized by his relationship with her.
Because Bradley depicts underground process rather than translating to the aboveground audience via an omnipotent narrator, "trailing" John's incremental flow toward his ancestors becomes necessary.
The implicit questioning of the epistemological viability of stationary solitude signals a change from conceptions of the underground as a fixed and defensible place of seclusion to the mobile and communal above-underground mode.
John's submission to the liberating convergence of his identity and process with those of his ancestors allows the underground to emerge through his narrative, creating the above-underground mode.