under

1 of 3

adverb

un·​der ˈən-dər How to pronounce under (audio)
1
: in or into a position below or beneath something
2
: below or short of some quantity, level, or limit
$10 or under
often used in combination
understaffed
3
: in or into a condition of subjection, subordination, or unconsciousness
put the patient under for surgery
4
: down to defeat, ruin, or death
weaker competitors will be forced under
5
: so as to be covered
buried under by the avalanche

under

2 of 3

preposition

1
: below or beneath so as to be overhung, surmounted, covered, protected, or concealed by
under sunny skies
a soft heart under a stern exterior
under cover of darkness
2
a
: subject to the authority, control, guidance, or instruction of
served under the general
under the terms of the contract
a program that runs under any operating system
b
: receiving or undergoing the action or effect of
under pressure
courage under fire
under the influence of alcohol
the image of a point under a mapping
under oath
3
a
: within the group or designation of
under this heading
b
: having as name or title
traveling under an alias
4
: less or lower than (as in size, amount, or rank)
especially : falling short of a standard or required degree
under the legal age
under par

under

3 of 3

adjective

1
a
: lying or placed below, beneath, or on the ventral side
often used in combination
the ocean's undercurrents
the underside of a car
b
: facing or protruding downward
often used in combination
the undersurface of a leaf
2
: lower in rank or authority : subordinate
often used in combination
the undersecretary of defense
3
: lower than usual, proper, or desired in amount, quality, or degree
often used in combination
undernourished children

Examples of under in a Sentence

Adverb Pull the bed sheets tight then fold the ends under. He turned under his shirt's collar. The whale surfaced briefly then dove under again. The bridge was too low for the ship to sail under. A score of 60 is needed to pass; anything under is failing. They had to put me under for surgery. Preposition They couldn't climb over the wall, so they dug a hole under it. Draw a line under each word you don't know. We sat under a tree and rested a while. I'm wearing a sweater under my jacket. The ball rolled under the car. How long can you hold your breath under water? The cafe is under new management. The army captured three forts while under the general's command. He has been under a lot of pressure at work lately. You will be under anesthesia during the operation. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adverb
Work performed by women is often undervalued, and in fields predominantly occupied by women, there is a tendency to under-recognize their expertise and educational background. Kim Elsesser, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 Oddsmakers have the consensus over/under at 47.5 points. Faris Tanyos, CBS News, 10 Feb. 2024 In both cases, the eventual reveal puts a poignant coda on stories of young Latinos struggling to escape the cycle of ignorance and unhealthy behavior that threatens to pull them under. Peter Debruge, Variety, 29 Jan. 2024 Compared to Wednesday’s first round: North Course 179 under, South Course 3 under. Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Jan. 2024 Defending champion Max Homa, ranked No. 7 in the world, shot a 70 on the North Course and was at four under. Bernie Wilson, Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 2024 Instead of tucking the ends under, leave them to fan out slightly and tie the bundle with a piece of twine. Maggie Burch, Southern Living, 24 Jan. 2024 Gently shape each portion into a ball, tucking edges under to make smooth tops. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 22 Jan. 2024 Bucks probable starters Guards: Damian Lillard, Malik Beasley Forwards: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Andre Jackson Jr. Center: Brook Lopez Bucks vs. Kings odds, over/under and moneyline Milwaukee is a 4.5-point favorite over Sacramento, and the over/under is 247.5 points. Jim Owczarski, Journal Sentinel, 14 Jan. 2024
Preposition
Washington won its third and final championship under Gibbs, who had a different quarterback each time, including MVP Mark Rypien on this day. 53. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 Pastel is currently under a first-look deal at HBO and Max. Joe Otterson, Variety, 22 Feb. 2024 The picture book, illustrated by Abbey Bryant, centers on a young girl named Desi who is fearful of the monsters under her bed. Lexy Perez, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2024 The book, which is illustrated by Abbey Bryant, follows a young girl named Desi who is afraid of the monsters under her bed. Carly Tagen-Dye, Peoplemag, 22 Feb. 2024 If parts of the egg white stick to the shell, try peeling the egg under running water to encourage the shell to loosen without taking all of the egg white with it. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 22 Feb. 2024 These instruments will prepare us for future human exploration of the Moon under #Artemis. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 22 Feb. 2024 This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Emily Hemendinger, Discover Magazine, 10 Feb. 2024 The holiday marks the arrival of spring and the start of a new year under the lunisolar calendar in a celebration that dates back to the Chinese agrarian tradition. TIME, 10 Feb. 2024
Adjective
Under 30 list that highlights the under 30s who are experts in their fields, including entrepreneurs, executives, social media stars, athletes and more. Emmy Lucas, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Brian Nelson, the under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury Department, said in an interview in October that the department would continue to use sanctions to pressure cartel organizations and suppliers of fentanyl chemicals. Zolan Kanno-Youngs, New York Times, 7 Dec. 2023 The unique stick formula is so easy to use and feels cool to touch on the under eye, which is refreshing after a night of little sleep. Kayla Blanton, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2023 And so being in an under resourced neighborhood or rural neighborhood really limits opportunities to receive a professional diagnosis of autism. Lizann Robinson, ABC News, 26 July 2023 Bet the under here as both teams will be focused on locking down shooters. Ian Firstenberg, Chicago Tribune, 28 Mar. 2023 This past Beauty of Beauty winner is lightweight but pigmented and includes some of our favorite skin-care ingredients, like vitamin E and caffeine to hydrate and brighten the under eyes. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, 23 Mar. 2023 My under-eye area immediately started looking more hydrated. Lindy Segal, Harper's BAZAAR, 22 Mar. 2023 Zach Edey scores on an up-and-under move with 1:27 to go. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'under.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adverb

Middle English, adverb & preposition, from Old English; akin to Old High German untar under, Latin inferus situated beneath, lower, infra below, Sanskrit adha

First Known Use

Adverb

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

Preposition

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

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of under was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near under

Cite this Entry

“Under.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/under. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

under

1 of 3 adverb
un·​der ˈən-dər How to pronounce under (audio)
1
: in or into a position below or beneath something
the duck surfaced, then went under again
2
: below some quantity, level, or average
ten dollars or under
often used in combination
underplayed the part
3
: in or into a losing, lower, or unconscious state or condition
kept my disappointment under
put the patient under for surgery
4
: so as to be covered or hidden
turned under by the plow

under

2 of 3 preposition
un·​der
ˌən-dər,
ˈən-
1
: below or beneath and topped or sheltered by
under sunny skies
under a tree
wearing a sweater under my jacket
2
a
: bound by the authority or guidance of
served under the general
b
: affected or influenced by the action or result of
the disease is under treatment
3
: within the group or division of
under this heading
4
a
: less or lower than (as in size, amount, or rank)
all masses under 90 kilograms
nobody under a colonel
b
: below the required level of
under legal age

under

3 of 3 adjective
un·​der
ˈən-dər
1
a
: lying or placed below
often used in combination
the sea's undercurrents
the underside of a car
b
: facing or bulging downward
often used in combination
the undersurface of a leaf
2
: lower in position or authority : subordinate
often used in combination
the undersecretary of defense
3
: lower than usual, proper, or desired in amount or quality
often used in combination
undernourished children

Medical Definition

under

1 of 3 adverb
un·​der ˈən-dər How to pronounce under (audio)
: in or into a condition of unconsciousness
put the patient under prior to surgery

under

2 of 3 preposition
: receiving or using the action or application of
an operation performed under local anesthesia

under

3 of 3 adjective
: being in an induced state of unconsciousness
given intravenously when the patient is underC. A. Birch

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