from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • prep. In a lower position or place than: a rug under a chair.
  • prep. To or into a lower position or place than: rolled the ball under the couch.
  • prep. Beneath the surface of: under the ground; swam under water.
  • prep. Beneath the assumed surface or guise of: traveled under a false name.
  • prep. Less than; smaller than: The jar's capacity is under three quarts.
  • prep. Less than the required amount or degree of: under voting age.
  • prep. Inferior to in status or rank: nine officers under me at headquarters.
  • prep. Subject to the authority, rule, or control of: under a dictatorship.
  • prep. Subject to the supervision, instruction, or influence of: under parental guidance.
  • prep. Undergoing or receiving the effects of: under constant care.
  • prep. Subject to the restraint or obligation of: under contract.
  • prep. Within the group or classification of: listed under biology.
  • prep. In the process of: under discussion.
  • prep. In view of; because of: under these conditions.
  • prep. With the authorization of: under the monarch's seal.
  • prep. Sowed or planted with: an acre under oats.
  • prep. Nautical Powered or propelled by: under sail; under steam.
  • prep. During the time conventionally assigned to (a sign of the zodiac): born under Aries.
  • adv. In or into a place below or beneath: struggled in the water but then slipped under.
  • adv. In or into a subordinate or inferior condition or position.
  • adv. So as to be covered or enveloped.
  • adv. So as to be less than the required amount or degree.
  • adj. Located or situated on a lower level or beneath something else: the under parts of a machine.
  • adj. Lower in rank, power, or authority; subordinate.
  • adj. Less than is required or customary: an under dose of medication.
  • idiom out from under Informal Having gotten free of worries or difficulties: Credit counseling helped us get out from under.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • prep. In a lower level than.
  • prep. As a subject of; subordinate to
  • prep. Less than
  • prep. Below the surface of
  • prep. in the face of; in response to (some attacking force)
  • adv. In a way lower or less than
  • adv. In a way inferior to
  • adj. Being lower; being beneath something.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Lower in position, intensity, rank, or degree; subject; subordinate; -- generally in composition with a noun, and written with or without the hyphen.
  • adv. In a lower, subject, or subordinate condition; in subjection; -- used chiefly in a few idiomatic phrases.
  • prep. Below or lower, in place or position, with the idea of being covered; lower than; beneath; -- opposed to over
  • prep. Denoting relation to some thing or person that is superior, weighs upon, oppresses, bows down, governs, directs, influences powerfully, or the like, in a relation of subjection, subordination, obligation, liability, or the like; as, to travel under a heavy load; to live under extreme oppression; to have fortitude under the evils of life; to have patience under pain, or under misfortunes; to behave like a Christian under reproaches and injuries; under the pains and penalties of the law; the condition under which one enters upon an office; under the necessity of obeying the laws; under vows of chastity.
  • prep. Denoting relation to something that exceeds in rank or degree, in number, size, weight, age, or the like; in a relation of the less to the greater, of inferiority, or of falling short.
  • prep. Denoting relation to something that comprehends or includes, that represents or designates, that furnishes a cover, pretext, pretense, or the like.
  • prep. Less specifically, denoting the relation of being subject, of undergoing regard, treatment, or the like.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Below; beneath: expressing position with reference to that which is above, whether in immediate contact or not, or which towers aloft, surmounts, covers, or overtops: as, all under heaven; under the earth or the sea; under the surface; under the table; to take shelter under a tree; to live under the same roof; to hide a thing under a heap of straw; to hide one's light under a bushel; to overhear a conversation under one's windows.
  • In or at a place, point, or position that is lower than; further down than; immediately below: as, to hit a man under the belt; to have pains under the arms.
  • In the position or state of, or while bearing, supporting, sustaining, receiving, suffering, undergoing, or the like: as, to sink under a load; to act under great excitement.
  • Inferior to in point of rank, dignity, social position, or the like.
  • Inferior to or less than, with respect to number, amount, quantity, value, age, etc.; falling short of; in or to a less degree than; hence, at, for, or with less than: as, it cannot be bought under $20.
  • Of sounds, inferior to, in pitch.
  • Subject to.
  • Liable or exposed to: as, under fire; under the penalty of fine or imprisonment.
  • Subject to the government, rule, command, direction, orders, guidance, or instruction of: as, to serve under Wellington; I studied under him; to sit under a favorite preacher.
  • Subject to the influence or operation of; actuated by.
  • In accordance with; in conformity with: as, to sell out under the rule.
  • Bound by: as, to be under bonds, or a vow.
  • In: with reference to circumstances.
  • In: with reference to category, division, section, class, etc.: as, to treat several topics under one head.
  • In course of: as, to be under treatment, or under discussion.
  • In the form or style of; by the appearance or show of; with the character, designation, pretense, pretext, or cover of.
  • During the time or existence of: said especially of rulers and their period of rule: as, Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate; the Armada was destroyed under the reign of Elizabeth; the American revolution broke out under the administration of Lord North.
  • With the sanction, authorization, permission, or protection of: as, under favor; under leave; under protection, etc.
  • [The preposition under in adverbial phrases often coalesces with its noun to form an adverb, from which the adjective or noun may be derived: as, under ground, ⟩ underground, adverb, ⟩ underground, a.; under hand, ⟩ underhand, adverb, ⟩ underhand, adjective; so underboard, underearth, underfoot, etc. Such forms are not true compounds, but are coalesced phrases, like aground, aboard, afoot, etc.]
  • In a state of subjection.
  • Nautical, directly under the bow: said of an anchor when the chain is up and down.
  • In a lower place; in a lower, subject, or subordinate condition or degree.
  • Lower in position; situated beneath: opposed to upper: as, the under side; the under mandible.
  • Lower in rank or degree. See under, adverb, note .
  • Of sounds, lower in pitch.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. below some quantity or limit
  • adj. lower in rank, power, or authority
  • adv. down below
  • adv. in or into a state of subordination or subjugation
  • adj. located below or beneath something else
  • adv. into unconsciousness
  • adv. below the horizon
  • adv. further down
  • adv. down to defeat, death, or ruin
  • adv. through a range downward


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English; see n̥dher- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English under, from Proto-Germanic *under (whence also German unter, Dutch onder), from a merger of Proto-Indo-European *n̥dʰér (“under”) and *n̥tér (“inside”). Akin to Old High German untar ("under"), Latin infra ("below, beneath"). More at infra-


  • So that is the reason why I look under my bed every night, to see if anybody is hid away there; because the very idea of having a man _under_ a body's bed, is so awful!

    Venus in Boston; A Romance of City Life

  • The provost, desiring to guard them from the danger of infection, published an order that all persons of both sexes, suffering under certain specified maladies, should quit the capital in twenty-four hours, _under the penalty of being thrown into the river_!

    The International Monthly Magazine - Volume V - No II

  • -- The reservatory clause proposed in our Memorial is what is usual in royal grants; and in the present case, the Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council, we hope, will be of opinion, it is quite sufficient, more especially as we are able to prove to their Lordships, that there are no "possessions," within the boundaries of the lands under consideration, which are held "_under legal titles_."

    Report of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations on the Petition of the Honourable Thomas Walpole, Benjamin Franklin, John Sargent, and Samuel Wharton, Esquires, and their Associates 1772

  • But directly under the mountain there was no wind, and their position was as that of a person who is _under_ the curve of a waterfall.

    Tom Slade's Double Dare

  • Eve, _in_ the middle of a Ring, and under -- right _under_ one of my oldest hills in Old England?

    Puck of Pook's Hill

  • [733] Unfortunately the class 50 acres and under at this time included holdings _under_ one acre, so that it is useless for the comparison of the number of small holdings at the two dates, for in 1907 none appear under one acre.

    A Short History of English Agriculture

  • General Rules made by His Excellency the Governor, acting under the advice of the Executive Council for the Government of Prisons, for the guidance of the prison officers, _under and by authority of

    Darkest India A Supplement to General Booth's "In Darkest England, and the Way Out"

  • B. conjectures under hrōf genam; but Ha., p. 45, shows this to be unnecessary, under also meaning _in_, as _in_ (or _under_) these circumstances. l.


  • B. conjectures under hrôf genam; but Ha., p. 45, shows this to be unnecessary, under also meaning _in_, as _in_ (or _under_) these circumstances. l.


  • Now when Mate fled to his own place, this great fool Tangaro noticed the path, but forgot which it was, and pointed it out to men under the impression that it was the road to the _upper_, not to the _under_, world.

    Modern Mythology


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