Definition of under in English:



  • 1Extending or directly below.

    ‘vast stores of gas under the North Sea’
    ‘the streams that ran under the melting glaciers’
    • ‘Lie on your side and position your bottom elbow directly under your shoulder as a support.’
    • ‘We do know they were caused by a geological fault under Manchester which appears to have settled now.’
    • ‘Megan held her breath as she put her head directly under the nozzle, the water running down her face and though her hair.’
    • ‘This led to a climb down into a small streamway, which appeared to run under the floor of the chamber.’
    • ‘The replacement of gas pipes under the road began February 3 and are set to be finished on May 31.’
    • ‘This tissue is examined under a microscope by a pathologist to check for cancer cells.’
    • ‘I skidded in the rain, the bike went head over wheels and I finished up under his car.’
    • ‘His terrier pup stretches out directly under the electric fire, but Colin too needs heat on his old bones.’
    • ‘Why waste all that room under the kitchen sink by simply filling it with garbage?’
    • ‘It was only the very quick reaction of the driver that prevented the scooter finishing up under the bus wheels.’
    • ‘But a gas main discovered under the planned memorial has put the project in jeopardy.’
    • ‘Advice from his officers, which has been seen by the Daily Echo, failed to mention how much oil could lie under the site.’
    • ‘Pity the display was directly under the departures board which had a long list of delayed and cancelled trains.’
    • ‘Place the haddock on an oiled grill tray, brush with oil and place under a preheated grill for three minutes.’
    • ‘Huge reserves of fossil fuels remain to be even considered, let alone tapped, eg gas hydrates under the oceans.’
    • ‘Richey is looking forward to experiencing the things we take for granted, such as feeling grass under his feet.’
    • ‘It is a flare, burning gas from deep under the ground, a by-product of the pumping of oil.’
    • ‘One bird was found directly under a utility line and one was located on the side of a county road.’
    • ‘He charged 80 metres down field leaving a stunned defence in his wake to plant the ball under the uprights.’
    • ‘We look for the lost keys under the lamp post because that is where there is light.’
    • ‘They dislike being planted under trees or in soil that gets waterlogged.’
    • ‘The recent appearance of lines under my eyes confirm the toll of early risings and long days.’
    • ‘It would skirt Northcliffe Playing fields and pass under or over Bradford Road at the Branch pub.’
    1. 1.1Below (something covering or protecting)
      ‘under several feet of water’
      ‘a hot plate under an insulated lid’
      • ‘Alex scrubbed a plate and dunked it under the hot soapy water.’
      • ‘Maybe they were dejectedly resigned to seeing another green field site disappear under tons of concrete?’
      • ‘Fruit cell turgors were obtained by probing the mesocarp cells directly under the fruit epidermis.’
      • ‘Many were the nights of great banter, chat and fun that were enjoyed under this roof.’
      • ‘Thirty miles away, the lofty peaks appeared sugar coated under their mantle of winter snow.’
      • ‘Ryda jumped out from under the covers and planted her feet on the cold concrete of her room.’
      • ‘The cat thought it was great fun and climbed under the duvet with me.’
      • ‘Over the years the green fell into disuse and became gradually hidden under thick layers of leaves.’
      • ‘Remember too that when grown under glass our plants are dependent on us for all their watering requirements.’
      • ‘Check your plants weekly, looking under the leaves for the slow-moving mites.’
      • ‘Check the electrics as these can be expensive to repair and take a long look under the bonnet for oil leaks.’
      • ‘The plates were kept under a clear, acrylic cover to reduce evaporation.’
      • ‘Bleeding can occur under the skin, causing the area to swell and become painful.’
      • ‘The show uses human performers and no animals appear under the big top.’
      • ‘In mist or under a covering of snow, however, navigational skills will be tested.’
      • ‘For me the most exciting thing in ice fishing is seeing the fish appear from under the ice to take the lure.’
      • ‘I put the note down under the plate and turned around to find Daniel in my face.’
      • ‘Most of the flavour lies directly under the skin, so peeling is to be avoided.’
      • ‘The racing began under a layer of snow that saw athletes bundled up even while racing.’
      • ‘Central to the scheme will be a bar and brasserie under the currently hidden roof dome.’
      beneath, below, underneath, at the bottom of, at the foot of
      flooded by, immersed in, submerged by, sunk in, engulfed by, inundated by, drowned by
      View synonyms
  • 2At a lower level than.

    ‘the room under his study’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 2.1Behind (a physical surface)
      ‘it was written on the new canvas under a gluey coating’
      • ‘So we went shopping for him, bear in mind, that I had three layers on under my thick winter coat.’
      • ‘His torso was covered in a fine cloth and had a thin layer of body armor under it.’
      • ‘How can you look at a Barbie doll caked under layers of makeup and then call her beautiful?’
      • ‘He recently began to put gold and silver metal leaf under the paint, and he uses a hand-rubbing technique to create a soft, antiqued look.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Aziz nodded as he pulled his hidden microphone out from under his shirt.’
      • ‘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. 2.2Behind or hidden behind (an appearance)
      ‘he had a deep sense of fun under his quiet exterior’
      • ‘The sins of other men are not apparent, but are dogging them, nevertheless, under the surface.’
      • ‘I was invited to appear, under my hastily improvised pseudonym, in a London heat in mid-May.’
      • ‘As any Elvis impersonator knows, under the hard exterior of even the clumsiest man there is a dancer trying to get out.’
      • ‘In the wake of a spate of racist attacks, Lewis asks if the menace of racism simmers under the surface of the city?’
      • ‘There is an intensity to their live show, a fragility under the extroverted appearance.’
      • ‘However, under the surface there is trouble deep down in the core of the financial markets.’
      • ‘What was the Citizen's Charter if it was not public service reform under a different badge?’
      • ‘As his back catalogue shows, the tension bubbling under the surface of everyday life is a basic theme of all his works.’
      • ‘We never know what's going on just under the surface of people's lives.’
      • ‘He has posted heavily to the same political newsgroups under his own name.’
      • ‘Posting under a pseudonym on an online chatroom enables you to be whoever you want to be.’
      • ‘Screening frequently occurs under the guise of making the decision process manageable.’
      • ‘What a character, yet under that confident exterior lies a solid and dependable goalkeeper.’
      • ‘He skulked into the room under the pretence of finding himself a drink.’
      • ‘It will simply conceal whatever gaps in communication there are under another layer of imprecise language.’
    3. 2.3Lower in grade or rank than.
      ‘under him in the hierarchy’
      • ‘We have a layer of stewards under the branch secretaries who also filter this democracy down.’
      • ‘Three principal planning officers will head the team under a development control manager.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
  • 3Lower than (a specified amount, rate, norm, or age)

    ‘they averaged just under 2.8 per cent’
    • ‘It is great fun for everyone but children under 8 years must be accompanied by an adult.’
    • ‘He said he couldn't say the defendant should have known she was under 16 by her appearance.’
    • ‘The fire was brought under control just under three hours later with the main bulk of the blaze extinguished.’
    • ‘All that can be determined is the children appear to be under the age of 14 years.’
    • ‘When miscarriage occurs under 10 weeks, it is more likely to complete spontaneously.’
    • ‘Jacques Chirac, the right wing president, scraped just under 20 percent of the vote.’
    • ‘Also taking part was Malcolm Smart, who finished in just under two hours.’
    • ‘He finished in just under five hours, describing it as a sweet and sour experience.’
    • ‘Polio can strike at any age, though half of all cases occur in children under three.’
    • ‘Buying alcohol on behalf of someone under 18 could lead to an appearance in court.’
    • ‘The majority of cases in Angola have occurred in children under the age of five years.’
    • ‘The tasks are often to write a short story under a certain amount of words.’
    • ‘During the same period last year just under two million viewers had done so.’
    • ‘Mr Delaney said he was very happy to report that he had a heart rate of under 60 beats to the minute.’
    • ‘Which meant if I ran the second half at the same speed I would have finished in under four hours.’
    • ‘The average size of email-bourne viruses so far this year has been well under 20 kilobytes.’
    • ‘However, it could be less than half of the expected amount, or under £750 in our example.’
    • ‘About a quarter of the farms were classified as small, varying round an average of just under one acre and a half.’
    • ‘I define roadster as under two litres, fun, dependable, cheap to run, with low maintenance.’
    • ‘The report forecast more profit warnings for the year and growth of under ten per cent.’
    • ‘Employers are using overseas workers because they believe they can pay them under the union rate.’
    less than, lower than, smaller than, not so much as, not as much as, below
    View synonyms
  • 4Controlled, managed, or governed by.

    ‘the province is now under martial law’
    ‘I was under his spell’
    • ‘Childbirth in Kazakhstan occurs in a hospital under the care of a doctor whenever possible.’
    • ‘When the tsunami hit in December the province was under a second period of civil emergency.’
    • ‘Those living under an oppressive regime may have good reason to seek this level of online privacy.’
    • ‘I have known of him for many years, and several of my friends studied under him and speak very highly of him.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the government forces under General Cope appeared belatedly to take him on.’
    • ‘Many of them, including the President, were directly or ultimately under his command.’
    • ‘He became a crucial mediator in the Northern Ireland peace process under President Clinton.’
    • ‘At least in that time, the excuse of living under a brutal regime could at least be used.’
    • ‘Michael was to come directly under the command of the pope and such a combination promised trouble.’
    • ‘The US occupation authority has placed the city under what amounts to martial law.’
    • ‘Yule spent a year in Bonn undertaking research in experimental physics under Hertz.’
    • ‘A great fun night was had by all under the leadership of Quiz master Mr. Peter Guy.’
    • ‘They have both been studying for five years under Academy founder Richard Smith.’
    • ‘Religious congregations took over schools at all levels under the authority of bishops.’
    • ‘At first he studied under teachers who prescribed rigorous fasting and self-mortification.’
    • ‘He is sure to maintain his heavy role within the offense under new coach Sidney Lowe.’
    1. 4.1During the rule of.
      ‘the coinage standard was reformed under Elizabeth I’
      • ‘The status of the monarchy had started to decline under the reign of James I.’
      • ‘The constraints became even clearer in the years of Whig ascendency under George I and George II.’
      • ‘He was the minister of the interior under the reign of the former emperor.’
      • ‘This reminds us that Elgar was culturally a Victorian who flourished under the reign of Victoria's son.’
      • ‘The 1870s were a time of consolidating political reforms under the rule of Juarez.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One hundred years ago both our countries were firmly under the rule of believers.’
      • ‘They had personal freedoms under his rule but they demanded political freedom too.’
      • ‘I had a friend whose family owned land in Egypt when it was under British rule 50 or 60 years ago.’
      • ‘The sad truth is that what happened under the reign of Leopold II in the Congo has for so long been undocumented.’
      • ‘Petipa ran the company during the late 19th century, when Russia was under the rule of the Czars.’
      • ‘It's true that Bermuda's continued prosperity is not guaranteed if it remains under British rule.’
      • ‘After 52 years, cynics have begun to feel that things were better under the British rule.’
    2. 4.2As a reaction to or undergoing the pressure of (something)
      ‘the sofa creaked under his weight’
      ‘certain institutions may be under threat’
      • ‘She felt it creak and sag ominously under her slight weight, but breathed a sigh of relief as it held steady.’
      • ‘I just kept lifting my legs up and down under the pressure of the weights on the machine.’
      • ‘His world record of 18.29m appears to be under no threat for the time being, but motivation is now a problem.’
      • ‘Nursing and support staff do a wonderful job but are constantly under pressure from ever dwindling resources.’
      • ‘The right to anonymity on Internet bulletin boards is under threat again.’
      • ‘Research watchdogs were under pressure today not to give a team of scientists permission to clone human embryos.’
      • ‘Only its main sail creaked at regular intervals when it swayed slightly under pressure of a mild wind.’
      • ‘The ten weight rod bent alarmingly I could feel the corks bend under the pressure.’
      • ‘Maybe they were under duress, either directly manifested or social, to be seen celebrating.’
      • ‘It will work by using steam, fed under pressure, to break down organic waste and sterilise metals and plastics.’
      • ‘If those plants had been under threat six months ago it would have been national news.’
      • ‘The bed creaked under his weight and Jack leaned into the warmth, closed his eyes and took in a deep breath.’
      • ‘Yesterday he denied that his job was under threat or that Howard had put pressure on him.’
      • ‘You are put under a constant low level of pain that triggers endorphal release in your brain to help counter.’
      • ‘Scene by scene, Sam falls apart under the weight of pressures he only partly understands.’
      • ‘Labour courts and arbitration systems are creaking under the weight of new cases.’
    3. 4.3As provided for by the rules of; in accordance with.
      ‘flowers supplied under contract by a local florist’
      • ‘This is despite the fact that Bridgestone is obliged to supply Minardi with tyres under F1 rules.’
      • ‘It appears that this may be the first test of this process under the Statute.’
      • ‘All four youths were arrested under the Explosives Act and taken to Fulford Police Station.’
      • ‘If successful, it too would have access to UK data under the mutual assistance treaties.’
      • ‘If an application was submitted it would be given due process under the planning laws.’
      • ‘Even if the person returning the item has a receipt, under the law the contract is between the buyer and the seller.’
      • ‘Perhaps they dare not mention that in case a lot of users return their software under the copyright act.’
      • ‘Australia is prosecuting the first alleged spammer under its new-ish Spam Act.’
      • ‘They have been denied the rights afforded under the proper judicial process.’
      • ‘English or French water companies will be free to sell water under contract to those who want their supplies.’
      • ‘Further there is no evidence as to what the insolvency processes would be under the law of Poland.’
      • ‘In two recent cases, protestors have been arrested under the 1361 Justices of the Peace Act.’
      • ‘This power may overlap with the power to remove people to hospital under the National Assistance Acts.’
      • ‘Three men arrested at the airport under Anti-Terrorism laws have now been released without charge.’
      • ‘I take no pleasure in saying I have been arrested hundreds of times under by-laws.’
      • ‘The law does not limit the terms under which a software product can be licensed.’
      • ‘This duty arises both under the contract of employment and under the common law principles of negligence.’
      • ‘The first arrest under the new powers, which came into effect on July 16, was made last Saturday.’
      • ‘He is prohibited from using the Internet under the terms of his release.’
      • ‘Smith is under contract but probably will be asked to take a pay cut or face being released.’
    4. 4.4Used to express grouping or classification.
      ‘file it under ‘lost’’
      ‘published under his own name’
      • ‘He sent a large number of his puzzles to Loyd and became very upset when Loyd began to publish them under his own name.’
      • ‘Now Byng has simplified the company, publishing all its books under the Canongate title.’
      • ‘One of the most memorable LA moments for me was filed under the title Whatever next?’
      • ‘New work by local artists has been brought together in Kendal under a single canvas at The Art Circus.’
      • ‘In 1906 he published a description of the region, under the title The Dead Heart of Australia.’
      • ‘This newspaper began highlighting the level of casual violence under the logo Violent Britain.’
      • ‘Brice offers to publish Ben's manuscript under his own name for guaranteed commercial success.’
      • ‘If the item is not listed, would it fall under one of the classifications if it were?’
      • ‘When his first piece of writing won a competition it was published under his Irish name.’
      • ‘In both the US and UK the novel will be published under the name Michael Marshall.’
      • ‘Now he just needs to come up with a few classics under his own name and the place in the rock pantheon he obviously craves will be assured.’
      • ‘The fact is that our papers ought to be published under our joint names, but if this were done neither of us get the benefit of it.’
      • ‘Even then it was published anonymously under the name of a printer that had long been out of business.’
      • ‘Are we right to allow all sorts of stuff to appear under our name online?’
      • ‘Childe Harold appeared under his imprint, as did most of Byron's other work.’
      • ‘His way round this, which was also adopted by others, was to publish under a different name.’
      • ‘She would marry Ron Graham in 1983 but she continued to publish under her original name of Fan Chung.’
      • ‘Why did James continue writing anonymously after he had been published under his own name?’
    5. 4.5Computing Within the environment of (a particular operating system)
      ‘the program runs under DOS’
      • ‘Now, if some tool would just allow this card to be used under Linux as an access point.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Next I decided to have a look at Wine, a program that allows you to run windows apps under Linux.’
  • 5Undergoing (a process)

    ‘under construction’
    • ‘The Web site is still under construction and its official launch is planned for this fall.’
    • ‘Is that an option that has to be under serious consideration right now by the French?’
    • ‘That whole matter is still very much under investigation.’
    • ‘Finally, how can they say it is finished when there are still areas which are still under repair and construction?’
    • ‘The hilltop site has been under examination by the archaeological teams for the past month.’
    • ‘About two blocks from where we're staying, a new apartment block is under construction.’
    • ‘Feel free to look around the whole site, not just this blog, although most of it is still under construction.’
    • ‘After a year he went to the Middle East and spent some months with a field ambulance in Tobruk under enemy siege.’
    • ‘One might have expected this process to accelerate under the peace process.’
    • ‘Each has at its core a process under active discussion in Canada today.’
    • ‘Therefore the possibility of returning the applicant to Egypt is under active consideration.’
    • ‘Pontën confirmed the organization's web site has been under attack since the raids.’
    • ‘That would still give the child born a very good chance of growing into an adult under the care of living parents.’
    • ‘This looks very complicated but it too appears to become straight under magnification.’
    • ‘He pointed out that not all kinds of aggravated robbery increased in the period under review.’
    • ‘Employees who are under investigation for alleged breaches of conduct are not allowed union representation at interviews with management.’
    • ‘The property is under offer and contracts are expected to be exchanged shortly.’
    • ‘There is a new rollercoaster under construction at Disney's Animal Kingdom.’
    • ‘We also pass a large new Honda plant that has a new loading yard under construction.’
    • ‘There are currently six social housing schemes under construction in the county.’
    undergoing, in the process of, receiving
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1In a state of.
      ‘children living under difficult circumstances’
      • ‘Plants are often under high temperature stress even in their native habitats.’
      • ‘Plants were grown under rain-fed conditions and plots were well fertilized before sowing.’
      • ‘Last night he was under arrest in Egypt, being questioned about the London terror attacks.’
      • ‘Last week, he was released and placed under house arrest pending trial due to his poor state of health.’
      • ‘The process put us under a lot of stress, and we felt that something shameful and wrong had occurred.’
      • ‘These trees can start producing fruit within about six years under the right conditions.’
      • ‘In neither case do I believe that the authors are actually under the delusion that the systems they are touting are perfect.’
      • ‘No matter what happens later, these men did a superior job under difficult circumstances.’
      • ‘They worked on art creation and education under extremely difficult conditions.’
      • ‘The relative safety of home births under these circumstances is quite difficult to judge.’
      • ‘I don't think of us are under any illusions about those elections.’
      • ‘She was apparently then taken away to the Alice Springs safe house where she has been kept under police protection.’
      • ‘Plants were cultivated under the same conditions as in hydroponic culture.’
      • ‘A wide range of mechanical and chemical measurements on plant parts can now be made under field conditions.’
      • ‘I sent this email under the impression that I was dealing with a reputable journalistic outfit.’
      • ‘Plans to place suspects who cannot be tried under house arrest have already drawn protests from campaigners.’
      • ‘They got out of their car and, without notice, put us under arrest and handcuffed us.’
      • ‘This gives you a talent for successfully performing difficult work under tiring circumstances.’
      • ‘He said that management had done its best to retain a viable share of the market under difficult trading conditions.’
      • ‘For decades, he helped many of them to survive under difficult circumstances.’
      • ‘They were restrained before being taken under arrest to St Aldate's Police station.’
      subject to, liable to, bound by, controlled by, constrained by, under the control of, at the mercy of
      View synonyms
    2. 5.2Planted with.
      ‘fields under wheat’
      • ‘Sixty percent of fields were under grass, and farmers lived by growing oats and hay for horses.’
      • ‘Its 600 hectares is mostly arable land and at one time 240 hectares was under soya beans.’


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