be at the bottom of (something)

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be at the bottom of (something)

To be the fundamental cause of something. Stubbornness is at the bottom of every unresolved disagreement.
See also: bottom, of

be at the bottom of something

If something is at the bottom of a situation, it is the real cause of it. Remember that pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes. Note: You can also say that something lies at the bottom of a situation. This decision quite probably lies at the bottom of the colony's current discontent.
See also: bottom, of, something

be/lie at the ˈbottom of something

be the basic cause of something: Racist feelings almost certainly lie at the bottom of these recent attacks.
See also: bottom, lie, of, something
References in classic literature ?
How hot it was at the bottom of that long tube of metal
But the arresting officer told our solicitor Martin Cruddace the matter was out of his hands, he was at the bottom of a chain of command and had "better things" to do with his time.