un·​der | \ ˈən-dər How to pronounce under (audio) \

Definition of under

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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 combinationunderstaffed
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

Definition of under (Entry 2 of 3)

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
2a : 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
3a : 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



Definition of under (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for under

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Preposition

Antonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Preposition

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Years of government mismanagement have left Venezuelan healthcare grossly unprepared and under-resourced to handle the Covid-19 pandemic. Eliza Mackintosh, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Tuesday, December 8," 8 Dec. 2020 Black service members are still disproportionately under-represented among the officer ranks despite enlisting at a higher rate than other minorities and White people relative to their share of the US population, Department of Defense data shows. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Black service members in the Air Force are treated differently than their White peers, an investigation finds," 22 Dec. 2020 Franklin said that in 2016 and 2020 the Marquette survey provided an accurate snapshot of the Democratic vote but under-represented the Trump vote. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pollsters face another season of soul searching after 2020 presidential race," 6 Nov. 2020 Program was understaffed, chronically under-resourced, lacked funding, and lacked credentialed SHARP professionals among other issues. Anoa Changa, Essence, "Report Finds 'Permissive Environment For Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment' At Fort Hood," 9 Dec. 2020 In light of all this, the resulting disincentive for whistleblowers to work with the committees—which are already stretched thin and under-resourced—is undeniable. Ankush Khardori, The New Republic, "How to De-Trumpify the Justice Department," 9 Nov. 2020 The San Diego American Indian Health Center, which serves San Diego’s American Indian and under-served populations, is working with healthcare real estate developer PMB. Andrea Lopez-villafaña, San Diego Union-Tribune, "City seeks input on rival development proposals for long-vacant property," 8 Oct. 2020 By contrast, in bedside farewells via FaceTime, drive-by burials as under-attended as Jay Gatsby’s, and digital funerals on Zoom, we’ve been forced to mourn the victims of the novel coronavirus in a numbing new way: more or less alone. Todd S. Purdum, STAT, "Drive-by burials and FaceTime farewells: Grief in the Covid era will weigh on the American psyche for years to come," 9 Dec. 2020 When Cincinnati quarterback Brandon Higgins under-threw Tee Higgins on a deep, sideline route, Howard was there to pick it off. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, "Hyde10: Ten thoughts on Dolphins’ 19-7 win over Bengals," 6 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition The benefits would be extended through September, preventing millions of people from losing their jobless aid in March, as would occur under current law. Author: Erica Werner, Jeff Stein, Anchorage Daily News, "Biden unveiling $1.9 trillion economic relief package that increases stimulus payments to $2,000, boosts jobless benefits," 14 Jan. 2021 People previously arrested under the security law and others held for politically related offenses in the city have had their passports confiscated, as authorities worry about the influence of the growing number of Hong Kongers in exile abroad. Washington Post, "Hong Kong authorities arrest 11 over activists’ attempted Taiwan boat escape," 14 Jan. 2021 The Trump Organization is under city contract to operate the two ice rinks and a carousel in Central Park as well as a golf course in the Bronx. Chron, "NYC to terminate Trump contracts after Capitol insurrection," 13 Jan. 2021 All are under contract through 2022-23, with Harden and Durant both set to earn more than $40 million in each of the next two seasons. oregonlive, "Rockets’ James Harden traded to Brooklyn Nets in blockbuster NBA deal: Reports," 13 Jan. 2021 All are under contract through 2022-23, with Harden and Durant both set to earn more than $40 million in each of the next two seasons. Kristie Rieken, BostonGlobe.com, "Houston Rockets trade James Harden to Brooklyn Nets," 13 Jan. 2021 Toll Brothers’ Thrive Residential subsidiary has the property under contract, but the sale has not closed, said division president Chris Rudd. Andy Peters, ajc, "Luxury condos, retail planned for Edwards Pie site," 12 Jan. 2021 The incentives can also be considered kickbacks under federal law. Trisha Thadani, SFChronicle.com, "Can you pay someone to stop using meth? Proposed California legislation would boost drug treatment option," 12 Jan. 2021 While the 14th Amendment — which was passed in 1866 and ratified in 1868 — was created in response to former slaves receiving equal protection under law, sections within the Amendment are specifically for lawmakers. Asia Ewart, refinery29.com, "Can The 14th Amendment Be Used To Remove Republicans Like Ted Cruz From Office?," 11 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The under-tongue Vicks ComfortFlex Digital Thermometer, which is also featured in our thermometer roundup, was also well-liked by readers. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "Bestselling tech & gadgets: Most purchased wearable and personal tech we've covered," 29 Dec. 2020 The Vikings offense has the highest under-center rate in the NFL, with Cousins known for leaning on running back Dalvin Cook to uncork deep throws off play action. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, "Film review: Kirk Cousins, Vikings step out of mold to inch past Bears defense," 18 Nov. 2020 An under-counter freezer the size of a dorm fridge is about $10,000. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "COVID vaccine candidate from Pfizer must be stored at minus 112, prompting a rush on dry ice," 18 Nov. 2020 Feel the wrath of Paul Hollywood tasting an under-proofed pastry! Natalie Morin, refinery29.com, "The Great British Bake Off," 15 Sep. 2020 Often a popular choice for bedrooms, medium-pile carpet has slightly taller, less dense fibers, adding to under-foot comfort while maintaining a relative ease-of-cleaning factor. Sarah Baird, House Beautiful, "Carpet," 14 Sep. 2020 Here, the best under-eye patches to stock up on now. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "19 Under-Eye Patches to Banish Puffiness Once and for All," 23 Dec. 2020 Kelly scored on a cross-under layup off a feed from Bradley to trim USF’s lead to one with 15 seconds to go, setting up Foreman’s dramatics. Staff And News Services, SFChronicle.com, "Cal men stun USF on Makale Foreman’s buzzer-beating 3," 13 Dec. 2020 Thomas More, who was then under-sheriff of London, tried to quiet the mob but was unsuccessful. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Spanish Princess recap: Catherine and Henry walk in fields of gold — and other historical observations," 16 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'under.' 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 under


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


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


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

History and Etymology for under


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

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Time Traveler for under

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for under

Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Under.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/under. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for under


How to pronounce under (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of under

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: in or into a position that is below or beneath something especially : in a position that is below the surface of water
: in a forward direction that passes below something
: less than an expected or stated number or amount

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

: in or to a lower place than (something) : below or beneath (something)
: guided or managed by (a person or group)
: controlled or affected by (something)


un·​der | \ ˈən-dər How to pronounce under (audio) \

Kids Definition of under

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : in or into a position below or beneath something The dog squeezed under the fence.
2 : below some quantity or level ten dollars or under

Kids Definition of under (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : lower than and topped or sheltered by under a tree
2 : below the surface of under the sea
3 : in or into such a position as to be covered or hidden by I wore a sweater under my jacket.
4 : commanded or guided by Many soldiers served under George Washington.
5 : controlled or managed by The restaurant is under new management.
6 : affected or influenced by the action or effect of The disease is under treatment.
7 : within the division or grouping of That information is under this heading.
8 : less or lower than (as in size, amount, or rank) The candy costs under a dollar. The package weighs under two pounds.



Kids Definition of under (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : lying or placed below or beneath
2 : lower in position or authority
Hint: The adjective under is often used in combination with other words. underside


un·​der | \ ˈən-dər How to pronounce under (audio) \

Medical Definition of under

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: in or into a condition of unconsciousness put the patient under prior to surgery

Medical Definition of under (Entry 2 of 3)

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



Medical Definition of under (Entry 3 of 3)

: being in an induced state of unconsciousness given intravenously when the patient is under— C. A. Birch

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