(In addition to the uses shown below, under is also used in phrasal verbs such as `go under' and `knuckle under'.)
1) PREP If a person or thing is under something, they are at a lower level than that thing, and may be covered or hidden by it.

They found a labyrinth of tunnels under the ground.

...swimming in the pool or lying under an umbrella...

Under a wide shelf that holds coffee jars stands a pile of magazines...

She buried her head under the covers, pretending to be asleep...

A path runs under the trees.

2) PREP In a place such as a sea, river, or swimming pool, if someone or something is under the water, they are fully in the water and covered by it.

They said he'd been held under the water and drowned...

Goldfish were swimming lazily in a group just under the surface.

ADV: ADV after v
Under is also an adverb.

When the water was up to his neck, a hand came from behind and pushed his head under.

3) PREP If you go under something, you move from one side to the other of something that is at a higher level than you.

He went under a brick arch...

A river boat passed under the bridge.

4) PREP Something that is under a layer of something, especially clothing, is covered by that layer.

I was wearing two sweaters under the green army jacket...

He had no shirt on under his thin jumper...

It was hard to see the colours under the layer of dust.

5) PREP You can use under before a noun to indicate that a person or thing is being affected by something or is going through a particular process.

...fishermen whose livelihoods are under threat...

I'm rarely under pressure and my co-workers are always nice to me...

Firemen said they had the blaze under control...

The cause of the crash was under investigation...

He was rushed to court yesterday under armed guard.

6) PREP If something happens under particular circumstances or conditions, it happens when those circumstances or conditions exist.

His best friend was killed by police under extremely questionable circumstances...

Under normal conditions, only about 20 to 40 per cent of vitamin E is absorbed...

Most doctors and nurses live under stressful conditions.

7) PREP If something happens under a law, agreement, or system, it happens because that law, agreement, or system says that it should happen.

Under law, your employer has the right to hire a temporary worker to replace you...

We believe an offence was committed under EC regulations...

Under the Constitution, you cannot be tried twice for the same crime.

8) PREP If something happens under a particular person or government, it happens when that person or government is in power.

There would be no new taxes under his leadership.

...the realities of life under a brutal dictatorship...

The North has been under Communist rule since 1954.

9) PREP If you study or work under a particular person, that person teaches you or tells you what to do.

Kiefer was just one of the artists who had studied under Beuys in the early Sixties...

General Lewis Hyde had served under General `Billy' Mitchell...

I am the new manager and you will be working under me.

10) PREP If you do something under a particular name, you use that name instead of your real name.

Were any of your books published under the name Amanda Fairchild?...

The patient was registered under a false name.

11) PREP You use under to say which section of a list, book, or system something is in.

This study is described under `General Diseases of the Eye'.

...a parental rights order under section 4 of the Family Law Reform Act...

`Where would it be?' - `Filed under C, second drawer down.'

12) PREP: PREP amount If something or someone is under a particular age or amount, they are less than that age or amount.

...jobs for those under 65...

Nearly half of mothers with children under five have a job...

Expenditure this year should be just under 15 billion pounds.

ADV: amount and ADV
Under is also an adverb.

...free childminding service for 5's and under.

13) under canvassee canvas
under wrapssee wrap

English dictionary. 2008.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Under — Un der, prep. [AS. under, prep. & adv.; akin to OFries. under, OS. undar, D. onder, G. unter, OHG. untar, Icel. undir, Sw. & Dan. under, Goth. undar, L. infra below, inferior lower, Skr. adhas below. [root]201. Cf. {Inferior}.] 1. Below or lower …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • under — [un′dər] prep. [ME < OE, akin to Ger unter < IE * ṇdhos, *ṇdheri, under > L infra, below] 1. in, at, or to a position down from; lower than; below [shoes under the bed, under a blazing sun] 2. beneath the surface of [under water] 3.… …   English World dictionary

  • under — (prep., adv.) O.E. under, from P.Gmc. *under (Cf. O.Fris. under, Du. onder, O.H.G. untar, Ger. unter, O.N. undir, Goth. undar), from PIE *ndhero lower (Cf. Skt. adhah below; Avestan athara lower; …   Etymology dictionary

  • Under — Série Logo de la série Scénario Christophe Bec Dessin …   Wikipédia en Français

  • under — *under germ., Adverb, Präposition: nhd. unter, zwischen; ne. under, between; Rekontruktionsbasis: got., an., ae., afries., anfrk., as., ahd.; Etymologie …   Germanisches Wörterbuch

  • Under — Un der, adv. In a lower, subject, or subordinate condition; in subjection; used chiefly in a few idiomatic phrases; as, to bring under, to reduce to subjection; to subdue; to keep under, to keep in subjection; to control; to go under, to be… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Under — Un der, a. Lower in position, intensity, rank, or degree; subject; subordinate; generally in composition with a noun, and written with or without the hyphen; as, an undercurrent; undertone; underdose; under garment; underofficer; undersheriff.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • under — {{hw}}{{under}}{{/hw}}(sempre seguito da un num. card.) A s. m.  e f.  spec. al pl. Atleta al disotto di una data età: gli under 21. B agg. ; anche s. f. Squadra formata di atleti al disotto di una data età: la nazionale under 21; l under 21 ha… …   Enciclopedia di italiano

  • under- — [ʌndə US dər] prefix 1.) less of an action or quality than is correct, needed, or desired ▪ underdevelopment ▪ undercooked cabbage 2.) going under something ▪ an underpass (=a road or path that goes under another road) 3.) inside or beneath other …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • under- — [ʌndə US dər] prefix 1.) less of an action or quality than is correct, needed, or desired ▪ underdevelopment ▪ undercooked cabbage 2.) going under something ▪ an underpass (=a road or path that goes under another road) 3.) inside or beneath other …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • under- — [ ʌndər ] prefix 1. ) not enough: used with many nouns, verbs, and adjectives: under exposed under nourished 2. ) below: used with many nouns: underpass underwater underfloor heating 3. ) less powerful or important: used with some nouns: an under …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English