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 Pin It, Steam It, Stitch It The corners were darted to make the curved corners smooth while quilting pins were used to keep everything in place while folding the unfinished edges beneath and ironing to get the material to lay flat and smooth. Eric Hockman, Sunset Magazine, "Sewing for Beginners: How I Made Waxed Canvas Window Covers For My Camper," 30 Apr. 2020 With rare exceptions, landowners in Alberta own rights to the surface, but not to the minerals that lie beneath. Washington Post, "Canada’s struggling oil industry leaves thousands of wells abandoned, without enough money for cleanup," 6 Feb. 2020 Midgar is split into haves and have-nots, with the bourgeois residing on the upper level and the less-fortunate citizens living in the slums beneath. Jason Schreier, New York Times, "After Years of Anticipation, Final Fantasy VII Fans Get Their Reboot," 9 Apr. 2020 The evidence that a crater lies beneath all that lava is mounting. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "The 100-Year-Search for a Missing Impact Crater Is Over," 10 Jan. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition There are two big questions lying beneath this case in its subtext. Sarah Midkiff,, "What To Know About The Supreme Court Hearings On Trump’s Taxes," 12 May 2020 The other threw a leg around the dangling light and cradled it while the scaffold collapsed beneath him. Paula Schleis,, "Making the call: Why Kent's mayor asked the governor to send the Guard to Kent State," 1 May 2020 This kind of rhetoric maps easily onto the growing political divides between rural and urban America—and beneath it, the racial demonization of black and brown denizens of cities. Joe Lowndes, The New Republic, "The Morbid Ideology Behind the Drive to Reopen America," 30 Apr. 2020 Apple trees near the orchard are ready to offer up white flower buds, and so are the purple and blue grape hyacinths on the soft earth floor beneath them. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "We can't visit Newfields right now. Here's a photo tour of its blooming, flowery gardens.," 27 Apr. 2020 But learning that the cameras and sensors hidden beneath it in the rearview-mirror housing require a $120 calibration had the silent feel of extortion. K.c. Colwell, Car and Driver, "Our 2019 Honda Insight Touring Is Memorable, Just Not for Its Looks," 20 Mar. 2020 On Earth, our magnetic field is driven by what’s known as a geodynamo, created as the molten iron core inside the rotating planet steadily churns some 1,800 miles beneath our feet. National Geographic, "Mars is humming. Scientists aren’t sure why.," 24 Feb. 2020 From the 31 August framework that dashed our hopes for universal suffrage to the booksellers’ abductions, Oathgate and political imprisonment, Hong Kongers can feel the political ground simultaneously shifting and shrinking beneath their feet. Joshua Wong, Time, ""Hong Kong is at an Existential Crossroads." Joshua Wong on the Future of His Homeland.," 20 Feb. 2020 But beneath the smooth surfaces, there were problems. Jillian Steinhauer, The New Republic, "The Hollow Politics of Minimalism," 1 Apr. 2020

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

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Beneath.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 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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