Definition of under in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈʌndə/


1Extending or directly below: vast stores of gas under the North Sea the streams that ran under the melting glaciers
More example sentences
  • This tissue is examined under a microscope by a pathologist to check for cancer cells.
  • Pity the display was directly under the departures board which had a long list of delayed and cancelled trains.
  • His terrier pup stretches out directly under the electric fire, but Colin too needs heat on his old bones.
1.1Below (something covering or protecting): under several feet of water a hot plate under an insulated lid
More example sentences
  • Alex scrubbed a plate and dunked it under the hot soapy water.
  • In mist or under a covering of snow, however, navigational skills will be tested.
  • The plates were kept under a clear, acrylic cover to reduce evaporation.
beneath, below, underneath, at the foot/bottom of
flooded by, immersed in, submerged by, sunk in, engulfed by, inundated by, drowned by
2At a lower level than: the room under his study
More example sentences
  • The luggage compartment floor is on two levels, under which the rear seat base can be stowed.
  • Dropping forward onto the walkway around the hold it is possible to swim into the crew's quarters under the chart room.
  • He landed in an old storage room somewhere under the museum, where he was he had no idea.
2.1Behind (a physical surface): it was written on the new canvas under a gluey coating
More example sentences
  • He giggled to himself for a moment and then put his hand behind his back and under his shirt.
  • I had no thermals, but cut a dash with pyjama bottoms under my jeans and a borrowed Cossack hat.
  • On the other hand, you can put all the protective gear you want under a clown costume, and no one can get mad at a clown.
2.2Behind or hidden behind (an appearance): he had a deep sense of fun under his quiet exterior
More example sentences
  • As his back catalogue shows, the tension bubbling under the surface of everyday life is a basic theme of all his works.
  • He has posted heavily to the same political newsgroups under his own name.
  • He skulked into the room under the pretence of finding himself a drink.
2.3Lower in grade or rank than: under him in the hierarchy
More example sentences
  • We have a layer of stewards under the branch secretaries who also filter this democracy down.
  • Knight, who worked under Babcock as Director of Basketball Operations, has previous experience as a General Manager from his two seasons with the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies.
  • I learned long ago that I had to give the managers under me the ability to make mistakes or I'd lose good people.
subordinate to, junior to, inferior to, secondary to, subservient to, reporting to, answerable to, responsible to, subject to;
controlled by, at the mercy of, under the heel of
3Lower than (a specified amount, rate, norm, or age): they averaged just under 2.8 per cent
More example sentences
  • However, it could be less than half of the expected amount, or under £750 in our example.
  • The tasks are often to write a short story under a certain amount of words.
  • Mr Delaney said he was very happy to report that he had a heart rate of under 60 beats to the minute.
less than, lower than, smaller than, not so much as, not as much as, below
informal shy of
4Controlled, managed, or governed by: the province is now under martial law I was under his spell
More example sentences
  • He became a crucial mediator in the Northern Ireland peace process under President Clinton.
  • Those living under an oppressive regime may have good reason to seek this level of online privacy.
  • At least in that time, the excuse of living under a brutal regime could at least be used.
4.1During the rule of: the coinage standard was reformed under Elizabeth I
More example sentences
  • They have slipped back even from the freedoms they enjoyed under imperial rule.
  • England, under Alfred, similarly saw the encouragement of learning and the establishment of monastic houses.
  • The constraints became even clearer in the years of Whig ascendency under George I and George II.
4.2As a reaction to or undergoing the pressure of (something): the sofa creaked under his weight certain institutions may be under threat
More example sentences
  • Scene by scene, Sam falls apart under the weight of pressures he only partly understands.
  • Only its main sail creaked at regular intervals when it swayed slightly under pressure of a mild wind.
  • Labour courts and arbitration systems are creaking under the weight of new cases.
4.3As provided for by the rules of; in accordance with: flowers supplied under contract by a local florist
More example sentences
  • Three men arrested at the airport under Anti-Terrorism laws have now been released without charge.
  • He is prohibited from using the Internet under the terms of his release.
  • Further there is no evidence as to what the insolvency processes would be under the law of Poland.
4.4Used to express grouping or classification: file it under ‘lost’ published under his own name
More example sentences
  • Now Byng has simplified the company, publishing all its books under the Canongate title.
  • In both the US and UK the novel will be published under the name Michael Marshall.
  • Brice offers to publish Ben's manuscript under his own name for guaranteed commercial success.
4.5 Computing Within the environment of (a particular operating system): the program runs under DOS
More example sentences
  • Next I decided to have a look at Wine, a program that allows you to run windows apps under Linux.
  • After a beer break, we gathered together to discuss the merits of various encrypted file systems under Linux.
  • The combined system, running under Linux, boasts peak performance of four teraflops.
5Undergoing (a process): under construction
More example sentences
  • The Web site is still under construction and its official launch is planned for this fall.
  • The property is under offer and contracts are expected to be exchanged shortly.
  • Each has at its core a process under active discussion in Canada today.
undergoing, in the process of, receiving
5.1In a state of: children living under difficult circumstances
More example sentences
  • He said that management had done its best to retain a viable share of the market under difficult trading conditions.
  • The process put us under a lot of stress, and we felt that something shameful and wrong had occurred.
  • I sent this email under the impression that I was dealing with a reputable journalistic outfit.
subject to, liable to, bound by, controlled by, constrained by, under the control of, at the mercy of
5.2Planted with: fields under wheat
More example sentences
  • Its 600 hectares is mostly arable land and at one time 240 hectares was under soya beans.
  • Sixty percent of fields were under grass, and farmers lived by growing oats and hay for horses.


1Extending or directly below something: weaving the body through the crossbars, over and under, over and under
More example sentences
  • The girls pretended to have lost a ring under the table, so he crawled under and looked for it.
  • She used a medium-barrel curling iron to turn the hair under and over before finger-styling it.
  • Nothing was happening until a chipmunk poked his head through the flowers, looked at me, and dove back under.
2Under water: he was floating for some time but suddenly went under
More example sentences
  • I'm slinking along the bottom like an eel, trying to see how long I can stay under before I need to surface.
  • But the boat was sinking fast and when the stern went under, a rush of air pushed four people out of the cabin.
  • When I heard the splash I turned round and saw the boy was struggling and going under.
down, downward, lower, below, underneath, beneath;
underwater, to the bottom
2.1Affected by an anaesthetic; unconscious: the operation was quick; she was only under for 15 minutes
More example sentences
  • When I came to, it turned out that I had been under for a whole hour.



Pronunciation: /ˈʌndəməʊst/
Example sentences
  • The suction temporarily positions the undermost blank more or less stationary on the belt.


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch onder and German unter.

Words that rhyme with under

asunder, blunder, chunder, hereunder, plunder, rotunda, sunder, thereunder, thunder, up-and-under, wonder

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: under

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