be·​neath | \ bi-ˈnēth How to pronounce beneath (audio) , bē- \

Definition of beneath

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : in or to a lower position : below the mountains and the towns beneath
2 : directly under : underneath Look at the illustration and read what is beneath.



Definition of beneath (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : in or to a lower position than : below beneath the surface
b : directly under the ground beneath her feet
c : at the foot of a camp beneath a hill
2 : not suitable to the rank of : unworthy of a job that is beneath his dignity
3 : under the control, pressure, or influence of the chair sagged beneath his weight
4 : concealed by : under the guise of a warm heart beneath a gruff manner

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Synonyms & Antonyms for beneath

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Preposition

Antonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Preposition

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Examples of beneath in a Sentence

Adverb the mountains and the towns beneath the sky above and the earth beneath an awning with chairs and tables beneath The ground beneath is covered with flowers. Preposition the sky above us and the earth beneath us just beneath the surface of the water The painting is hanging on the wall with a plaque beneath it. We had a picnic beneath a large tree. The paper was hidden beneath a pile of books. She wore a sweater beneath her coat.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Gently wiggle the piece back and forth until the chocolate’s evenly spread beneath. Daniel Wolfe, Quartzy, "Here’s what to do with your leftover candy corn," 30 Oct. 2019 Yet the size, shape, and history of the original landmass—much of which lay beneath shallow tropical seas for millions of years—have been tough to reconstruct. Sid Perkins, Science | AAAS, "Geologists uncover history lost continent buried beneath Europe," 6 Sep. 2019 The bridge has 29 concrete support pillars, a 90-degree arch and its tallest point measures at over 200 feet, a height required by the Navy so its tallest ships could pass beneath. Pomerado News, "Rancho Bernardo woman was first to ride over San Diego-Coronado Bridge," 15 Aug. 2019 Stone’s sculptures certainly hint at the rough landscapes that still lie beneath, but his real genius resides in his ability to evoke the flimsiness of L.A. reality. Los Angeles Times, "Essential California Week in Review: A climate deal with automakers," 27 July 2019 Leaves usually float on the water surface or just beneath, but can be elevated somewhat when water levels are low. Ellen Nibali,, "Garden Q&A: On native water lilies and millipedes," 18 July 2019 But in fact, Stuber’s trappings belie the twisted heart that beats beneath. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Stuber is just an okay comedy, but it’s great dystopian horror," 12 July 2019 On the surface, the Rio Grande appears placid, but strong currents run beneath. Peter Orsi, The Denver Post, "A grim father, daughter border drowning underlines peril facing many migrants," 26 June 2019 On the surface, the Rio Grande appears placid, but strong currents run beneath. Washington Post, "Father-daughter border drowning highlights migrants’ perils," 26 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition But beneath that headline reality is an enticing emerging market — a nation of more than 80 million people, many highly educated, intent on transcending decades of isolation to integrate with the rest of the world. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, "Iran’s Economy Is Bleak. Its Stock Market Is Soaring.," 13 Feb. 2020 Big Blue just needs to keep the ground from shifting beneath its feet again. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "IBM’s Turn Might Stick," 22 Jan. 2020 The outdoors provide us with wide-ranging sensory stimulation: breathtaking, panoramic views; the dulcet sounds of babbling springs and sparkling birdsong; the satisfying crunch of twigs and pine needles beneath our feet. Heather Arndt Anderson, Sunset Magazine, "Relieve Stress with Visits to These Fragrant Places, from Lavender Farms to Redwood Groves," 17 Jan. 2020 Chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, invisible and insidious, had tainted the groundwater beneath her feet. Michele Cohen Marill, Wired, "Scientists Fight Back Against Toxic ‘Forever’ Chemicals," 15 Jan. 2020 Yet over the weekend, emergency crews pumped thousands of gallons of the sickly green liquid from beneath Sayers’ former factory. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Toxic liquid that gushed onto freeway took pollution experts by surprise," 24 Dec. 2019 It’s hard to build your relationship on equal ground when everyone is shoveling the sand from beneath your feet. Gemma Hartley, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Double Standards of Parenting We Can't Seem to Shake," 5 Dec. 2019 But when a ruffed grouse erupts from beneath a mantle of unblemished snow, the percussion all but drops you in your tracks. Tom Davis, Field & Stream, "Tips for Hunting Ruffed Grouse in the Winter," 4 Dec. 2019 Further analysis, however, revealed the bubbles had been contaminated by CO2 percolating from beneath the ice, likely released by microbes. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "World’s oldest ice core could solve mystery of ‘flipped’ ice age cycles," 30 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beneath.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of beneath


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for beneath

Adverb and Preposition

Middle English benethe, from Old English beneothan, from be- + neothan below; akin to Old English nithera nether — more at nether

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Time Traveler for beneath

Time Traveler

The first known use of beneath was before the 12th century

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Statistics for beneath

Cite this Entry

“Beneath.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for beneath


How to pronounce beneath (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of beneath

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: in or to a lower position



English Language Learners Definition of beneath (Entry 2 of 2)

: in or to a lower position than (something or someone)
: directly under (something or someone)
: not worthy of (someone) : not good enough for (someone)


be·​neath | \ bi-ˈnēth How to pronounce beneath (audio) \

Kids Definition of beneath

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : in a lower place the mountains and the town beneath
2 : directly under Look at the picture and read what is beneath.



Kids Definition of beneath (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : in or to a lower position than : below The sun sank beneath the horizon.
2 : directly under (something or someone) the ground beneath our feet
3 : not worthy of She thinks this work is beneath her.

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More from Merriam-Webster on beneath

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for beneath

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with beneath

Spanish Central: Translation of beneath

Nglish: Translation of beneath for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beneath for Arabic Speakers

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