Definition of under the counter (or table) in US English:

under the counter (or table)

phrase

  • (with reference to goods bought or sold) surreptitiously and typically illegally.

    as modifier ‘an under-the-counter deal’
    ‘certain labs have been peddling this drug under the counter’
    • ‘It was compared to a donkey's tail, frowned on as a symbol of Western decadence and sold only under the counter.’
    • ‘There is also a huge market for smuggled cigarettes with many legitimate retailers selling them under the counter.’
    • ‘Children in our country are exposed to many more sexual images in television ads - especially those selling beer - than in raunchy magazines sold under the counter.’
    • ‘The Chinatown store that sold them under the table recently went out of business.’
    • ‘That is why all sorts of deals are going on under the table and is the second reason why fathers are not named.’
    • ‘The trouble now is that black supermarket, selling to all with cash under the table.’
    • ‘There is so much underhanded stuff, people are being paid off under the table.’
    • ‘The decoder kit was available under the counter at all the hippest book stores, cafés, and nightclubs.’
    • ‘It's all above board, like, all legit, no under the counter chuff.’
    • ‘However, they are now being sold under the counter from street stalls in the city.’
    • ‘Cigarettes would be sold only under the counter if plans being considered by Scottish ministers are implemented.’
    • ‘‘Well anything you can do for us over the counter, or under the counter would be great,’ appealed Paddy Bracken.’