Definition of under in English:



  • 1Extending or directly below.

    ‘vast stores of oil under Alaska’
    ‘the streams that ran under the melting glaciers’
    • ‘Huge reserves of fossil fuels remain to be even considered, let alone tapped, eg gas hydrates under the oceans.’
    • ‘His terrier pup stretches out directly under the electric fire, but Colin too needs heat on his old bones.’
    • ‘Place the haddock on an oiled grill tray, brush with oil and place under a preheated grill for three minutes.’
    • ‘They dislike being planted under trees or in soil that gets waterlogged.’
    • ‘He charged 80 metres down field leaving a stunned defence in his wake to plant the ball under the uprights.’
    • ‘Why waste all that room under the kitchen sink by simply filling it with garbage?’
    • ‘The replacement of gas pipes under the road began February 3 and are set to be finished on May 31.’
    • ‘Pity the display was directly under the departures board which had a long list of delayed and cancelled trains.’
    • ‘We do know they were caused by a geological fault under Manchester which appears to have settled now.’
    • ‘Lie on your side and position your bottom elbow directly under your shoulder as a support.’
    • ‘I skidded in the rain, the bike went head over wheels and I finished up under his car.’
    • ‘It is a flare, burning gas from deep under the ground, a by-product of the pumping of oil.’
    • ‘But a gas main discovered under the planned memorial has put the project in jeopardy.’
    • ‘This led to a climb down into a small streamway, which appeared to run under the floor of the chamber.’
    • ‘We look for the lost keys under the lamp post because that is where there is light.’
    • ‘Advice from his officers, which has been seen by the Daily Echo, failed to mention how much oil could lie under the site.’
    • ‘Megan held her breath as she put her head directly under the nozzle, the water running down her face and though her hair.’
    • ‘Richey is looking forward to experiencing the things we take for granted, such as feeling grass under his feet.’
    • ‘It was only the very quick reaction of the driver that prevented the scooter finishing up under the bus wheels.’
    • ‘The recent appearance of lines under my eyes confirm the toll of early risings and long days.’
    • ‘This tissue is examined under a microscope by a pathologist to check for cancer cells.’
    • ‘It would skirt Northcliffe Playing fields and pass under or over Bradford Road at the Branch pub.’
    • ‘One bird was found directly under a utility line and one was located on the side of a county road.’
    1. 1.1Below (something covering or protecting)
      ‘under several feet of water’
      ‘a hot plate under an insulated lid’
      • ‘I put the note down under the plate and turned around to find Daniel in my face.’
      • ‘Fruit cell turgors were obtained by probing the mesocarp cells directly under the fruit epidermis.’
      • ‘Central to the scheme will be a bar and brasserie under the currently hidden roof dome.’
      • ‘Most of the flavour lies directly under the skin, so peeling is to be avoided.’
      • ‘Ryda jumped out from under the covers and planted her feet on the cold concrete of her room.’
      • ‘Maybe they were dejectedly resigned to seeing another green field site disappear under tons of concrete?’
      • ‘The cat thought it was great fun and climbed under the duvet with me.’
      • ‘In mist or under a covering of snow, however, navigational skills will be tested.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The plates were kept under a clear, acrylic cover to reduce evaporation.’
      • ‘Over the years the green fell into disuse and became gradually hidden under thick layers of leaves.’
      • ‘The racing began under a layer of snow that saw athletes bundled up even while racing.’
      • ‘Alex scrubbed a plate and dunked it under the hot soapy water.’
      • ‘Check the electrics as these can be expensive to repair and take a long look under the bonnet for oil leaks.’
      • ‘Remember too that when grown under glass our plants are dependent on us for all their watering requirements.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Check your plants weekly, looking under the leaves for the slow-moving mites.’
      • ‘For me the most exciting thing in ice fishing is seeing the fish appear from under the ice to take the lure.’
      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’
    • ‘Dropping forward onto the walkway around the hold it is possible to swim into the crew's quarters under the chart room.’
    • ‘The luggage compartment floor is on two levels, under which the rear seat base can be stowed.’
    • ‘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.’
      • ‘Aziz nodded as he pulled his hidden microphone out from under his shirt.’
      • ‘His torso was covered in a fine cloth and had a thin layer of body armor under it.’
      • ‘He giggled to himself for a moment and then put his hand behind his back and 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.’
      • ‘How can you look at a Barbie doll caked under layers of makeup and then call her beautiful?’
      • ‘I had no thermals, but cut a dash with pyjama bottoms under my jeans and a borrowed Cossack hat.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2Behind or hidden behind (an appearance or disguise)
      ‘he had a deep sense of fun under his quiet exterior’
      • ‘As any Elvis impersonator knows, under the hard exterior of even the clumsiest man there is a dancer trying to get out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Screening frequently occurs under the guise of making the decision process manageable.’
      • ‘We never know what's going on just under the surface of people's lives.’
      • ‘It will simply conceal whatever gaps in communication there are under another layer of imprecise language.’
      • ‘He has posted heavily to the same political newsgroups under his own name.’
      • ‘I was invited to appear, under my hastily improvised pseudonym, in a London heat in mid-May.’
      • ‘The sins of other men are not apparent, but are dogging them, nevertheless, under the surface.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the wake of a spate of racist attacks, Lewis asks if the menace of racism simmers under the surface of the city?’
      • ‘However, under the surface there is trouble deep down in the core of the financial markets.’
      • ‘Posting under a pseudonym on an online chatroom enables you to be whoever you want to be.’
      • ‘There is an intensity to their live show, a fragility under the extroverted appearance.’
    3. 2.3Lower in grade or rank than.
      ‘under him in the hierarchy’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Three principal planning officers will head the team under a development control manager.’
      • ‘I learned long ago that I had to give the managers under me the ability to make mistakes or I'd lose good people.’
      • ‘We have a layer of stewards under the branch secretaries who also filter this democracy down.’
      subordinate to, junior to, inferior to, secondary to, subservient to, reporting to, answerable to, responsible to, subject to
      View synonyms
  • 3Controlled, managed, or governed by.

    ‘the country is now under martial law’
    ‘I was under his spell’
    • ‘He is sure to maintain his heavy role within the offense under new coach Sidney Lowe.’
    • ‘Religious congregations took over schools at all levels under the authority of bishops.’
    • ‘Michael was to come directly under the command of the pope and such a combination promised trouble.’
    • ‘Childbirth in Kazakhstan occurs in a hospital under the care of a doctor whenever possible.’
    • ‘Many of them, including the President, were directly or ultimately under his command.’
    • ‘At least in that time, the excuse of living under a brutal regime could at least be used.’
    • ‘Yule spent a year in Bonn undertaking research in experimental physics under Hertz.’
    • ‘He became a crucial mediator in the Northern Ireland peace process under President Clinton.’
    • ‘The US occupation authority has placed the city under what amounts to martial law.’
    • ‘They have both been studying for five years under Academy founder Richard Smith.’
    • ‘A great fun night was had by all under the leadership of Quiz master Mr. Peter Guy.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the government forces under General Cope appeared belatedly to take him on.’
    • ‘I have known of him for many years, and several of my friends studied under him and speak very highly of him.’
    • ‘When the tsunami hit in December the province was under a second period of civil emergency.’
    • ‘At first he studied under teachers who prescribed rigorous fasting and self-mortification.’
    • ‘Those living under an oppressive regime may have good reason to seek this level of online privacy.’
    1. 3.1During (a specified time period, reign, or administration)
      ‘it occurred under the pontificate of Paul II’
      • ‘That is much more extensive than anything that has occurred under this Government.’
      • ‘In the last two years far more repairs have been done than in four years under the previous administration.’
      • ‘Labour formed a minority administration under its First Minister, Alun Michel.’
      • ‘The City boss inspired us all with his vision and thoughts for the future of the club under his reign.’
      • ‘This town has for the past 30 years at least been a successful town under a Labour administration.’
      • ‘In all of those elections, England voted Conservative but found itself under Labour rule.’
      • ‘He is an expert on Asia who served in the Reagan administration and under the first president Bush.’
      • ‘He also said that not all parents would get their first choice school, even under a Tory administration.’
      • ‘Even under Tory rule, no reasonable person disputed their right of entry.’
      • ‘Also, in the letter, they ask who is to blame for the lack of maintenance of our roads under the last administration.’
      • ‘This would be a problem even for a Tory administration - under Labour I don't think it possible.’
      • ‘I cannot pledge that such horrors will never occur under a Conservative Government.’
      • ‘The park fell into decline years ago and has been getting worse under both administrations.’
      • ‘The trend under the previous administration was, if anything, the reverse of this.’
      • ‘But recovery is on the way under the tough new administration of President Vladimir Putin.’
      • ‘Historic references point to the spread of Jainism under the reign of several kings in the past.’
      • ‘Overall the tax burden has risen by the equivalent of 8p on the basic rate of tax under Labour.’
      • ‘They were drinking heaps and having fun being Liberals under a Liberal Government.’
      • ‘Compare and contrast, as Whitlam himself might put it, the same period under Howard.’
      • ‘Why should the courts under a future administration not ban a party of the left, or a religious party?’
    2. 3.2As a reaction to or undergoing the pressure of (something)
      ‘the sofa creaked under his weight’
      ‘certain institutions may be under threat’
      • ‘The bed creaked under his weight and Jack leaned into the warmth, closed his eyes and took in a deep breath.’
      • ‘She felt it creak and sag ominously under her slight weight, but breathed a sigh of relief as it held steady.’
      • ‘Research watchdogs were under pressure today not to give a team of scientists permission to clone human embryos.’
      • ‘Nursing and support staff do a wonderful job but are constantly under pressure from ever dwindling resources.’
      • ‘The ten weight rod bent alarmingly I could feel the corks bend under the pressure.’
      • ‘You are put under a constant low level of pain that triggers endorphal release in your brain to help counter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Maybe they were under duress, either directly manifested or social, to be seen celebrating.’
      • ‘Labour courts and arbitration systems are creaking under the weight of new cases.’
      • ‘Scene by scene, Sam falls apart under the weight of pressures he only partly understands.’
      • ‘If those plants had been under threat six months ago it would have been national news.’
      • ‘The right to anonymity on Internet bulletin boards is under threat again.’
      • ‘It will work by using steam, fed under pressure, to break down organic waste and sterilise metals and plastics.’
      • ‘Yesterday he denied that his job was under threat or that Howard had put pressure on him.’
      • ‘Only its main sail creaked at regular intervals when it swayed slightly under pressure of a mild wind.’
    3. 3.3As provided for by the rules of; in accordance with.
      ‘flowers supplied under contract by a local florist’
      • ‘He is prohibited from using the Internet under the terms of his release.’
      • ‘All four youths were arrested under the Explosives Act and taken to Fulford Police Station.’
      • ‘Three men arrested at the airport under Anti-Terrorism laws have now been released without charge.’
      • ‘This duty arises both under the contract of employment and under the common law principles of negligence.’
      • ‘Smith is under contract but probably will be asked to take a pay cut or face being released.’
      • ‘In two recent cases, protestors have been arrested under the 1361 Justices of the Peace Act.’
      • ‘If an application was submitted it would be given due process under the planning laws.’
      • ‘The law does not limit the terms under which a software product can be licensed.’
      • ‘Further there is no evidence as to what the insolvency processes would be under the law of Poland.’
      • ‘This power may overlap with the power to remove people to hospital under the National Assistance Acts.’
      • ‘This is despite the fact that Bridgestone is obliged to supply Minardi with tyres under F1 rules.’
      • ‘I take no pleasure in saying I have been arrested hundreds of times under by-laws.’
      • ‘Perhaps they dare not mention that in case a lot of users return their software under the copyright act.’
      • ‘They have been denied the rights afforded under the proper judicial process.’
      • ‘The first arrest under the new powers, which came into effect on July 16, was made last Saturday.’
      • ‘It appears that this may be the first test of this process under the Statute.’
      • ‘If successful, it too would have access to UK data under the mutual assistance treaties.’
      • ‘Australia is prosecuting the first alleged spammer under its new-ish Spam Act.’
      • ‘Even if the person returning the item has a receipt, under the law the contract is between the buyer and the seller.’
      • ‘English or French water companies will be free to sell water under contract to those who want their supplies.’
    4. 3.4Used to express grouping or classification.
      ‘file it under “lost”’
      ‘published under his own name’
      • ‘Childe Harold appeared under his imprint, as did most of Byron's other work.’
      • ‘She would marry Ron Graham in 1983 but she continued to publish under her original name of Fan Chung.’
      • ‘If the item is not listed, would it fall under one of the classifications if it were?’
      • ‘He sent a large number of his puzzles to Loyd and became very upset when Loyd began to publish them under his own name.’
      • ‘His way round this, which was also adopted by others, was to publish under a different name.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Why did James continue writing anonymously after he had been published under his own name?’
      • ‘This newspaper began highlighting the level of casual violence under the logo Violent Britain.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Brice offers to publish Ben's manuscript under his own name for guaranteed commercial success.’
      • ‘When his first piece of writing won a competition it was published under his Irish name.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now Byng has simplified the company, publishing all its books under the Canongate title.’
    5. 3.5Computing Within the environment of (a particular operating system)
      ‘the program runs under DOS’
      • ‘Next I decided to have a look at Wine, a program that allows you to run windows apps under Linux.’
      • ‘The combined system, running under Linux, boasts peak performance of four teraflops.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 4Lower than (a specified amount, rate, norm, or age)

    ‘they averaged just under 2.8 percent’
    • ‘Buying alcohol on behalf of someone under 18 could lead to an appearance in court.’
    • ‘Mr Delaney said he was very happy to report that he had a heart rate of under 60 beats to the minute.’
    • ‘The majority of cases in Angola have occurred in children under the age of five years.’
    • ‘I define roadster as under two litres, fun, dependable, cheap to run, with low maintenance.’
    • ‘The average size of email-bourne viruses so far this year has been well under 20 kilobytes.’
    • ‘During the same period last year just under two million viewers had done so.’
    • ‘The tasks are often to write a short story under a certain amount of words.’
    • ‘The report forecast more profit warnings for the year and growth of under ten per cent.’
    • ‘He said he couldn't say the defendant should have known she was under 16 by her appearance.’
    • ‘However, it could be less than half of the expected amount, or under £750 in our example.’
    • ‘The fire was brought under control just under three hours later with the main bulk of the blaze extinguished.’
    • ‘He finished in just under five hours, describing it as a sweet and sour experience.’
    • ‘About a quarter of the farms were classified as small, varying round an average of just under one acre and a half.’
    • ‘It is great fun for everyone but children under 8 years must be accompanied by an adult.’
    • ‘Which meant if I ran the second half at the same speed I would have finished in under four hours.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Polio can strike at any age, though half of all cases occur in children under three.’
    • ‘Also taking part was Malcolm Smart, who finished in just under two hours.’
    • ‘All that can be determined is the children appear to be under the age of 14 years.’
    • ‘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
  • 5Undergoing (a process)

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


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