un·​der | \ ˈən-dər \

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 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



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 combination the ocean's undercurrentsthe 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for under

Synonyms: Adverb

below, beneath, underneath

Synonyms: Preposition

below, beneath, neath [dialect]

Antonyms: Adverb


Antonyms: Preposition

above, over

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Examples of under in a Sentence


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.


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

On Fridays, the museum remains open until 7 p.m. Museum admission for nonmembers is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and free for students and those 18 and under. Graydon Megan, chicagotribune.com, "Elmhurst Art Museum opens Mies van der Rohe exhibit," 11 June 2018 The Summer Food Service Program was created to fill that void and provide children 18 and under free nutritious meals while school is out, according to the IDOE website. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Where Indianapolis area kids can get free meals over summer," 6 June 2018 General museum admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12 and free for members, active military members and children ages 2 and under. Megan Becka, cleveland.com, "Hale Farm & Village celebrates 60 years as museum, announces events," 1 Feb. 2018 Wrigley Field: Fans 2 and under are admitted to regular season Cubs games without a ticket, provided they are seated on the lap of a parent or guardian. Audrey Gorden, RedEye Chicago, "Take the kids: Chicago venues' policies on children," 11 May 2017 That means that round-trip fares for children 11 and under start around $60. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "12 Days of Deals: Kids Fly Free on SAS," 7 Dec. 2018 Nearly half of 10-to-12-year-olds have their own smartphones; nearly 1.5 million children age 11 and under have active Snapchat accounts. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Why Facebook banned Alex Jones — and why Twitter didn’t," 13 Aug. 2018 Entry is $5, $4 for seniors and veterans with military ID and free for ages 12 and under. Luann Gibbs, Cincinnati.com, "Top 5 events in Cincinnati this weekend," 21 June 2018 Romero's injury will be seen as a huge blow to Jorge Sampaoli's side, with his experience likely to have been valuable to a team looking to cast doubt on the under-performing label often attributed to their performances at major tournaments. SI.com, "Argentina No. 1 Goalkeeper Sergio Romero Ruled Out for World Cup With Knee Injury," 23 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

What if one party is under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Daisy Melamed Sanders, Seventeen, "5 Things You Definitely Don't Learn in Sex Ed," 11 Jan. 2019 While Samsung reportedly has a folding phone under development, the FlexPai is here. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Victory, Royole: The FlexPai is the first folding phone we've seen," 10 Jan. 2019 Women are over represented in many low paying jobs but under represented in leadership positions across nearly every industry. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Ryan Seacrest Faces Backlash for Wearing 'Time's Up' Bracelet on Golden Globes Red Carpet," 7 Jan. 2019 Many of these bases are well known to Russia and could come under attack by special forces, cruise missiles, or artillery. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Is Having Trouble With Its 'Base in a Box'," 2 Jan. 2019 Previous mass releases — including in the days before the 2018 election — have come under similar scrutiny. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump administration to release hundreds of immigrant families from detention," 27 Dec. 2018 Some people perspire gently, appearing (at most) dewy after a workout or under scorching mid-August sun. Sarah Wu, Glamour, "This Is the Best Natural Deodorant No One's Talking About," 12 Dec. 2018 Unfortunately, Reagan is still feeling under the weather. Megan Stein, Country Living, "What Really Happened to Reagan Strange on 'The Voice?'," 5 Dec. 2018 The order halts the automatic 2.1 percent increase all civilian workers would have received under federal pay laws. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Trump orders federal pay freeze for 2019," 30 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That role is now the under scrutiny by American authorities. Natasha Khan, WSJ, "Meng Wanzhou, Huawei CFO and Founder’s Daughter, Has Been Face of Secretive Company," 6 Dec. 2018 After your face serum and moisturizer, apply a gentle eye cream to the under eyes and lids, like Kiehl’s avocado treatment. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The Definitive Guide to Preventing Dry Skin—From a Top Dermatologist," 26 Oct. 2018 Hospital staff told the deputy Rangel left the room and walked out of the hospital despite being under arrest, court documents show. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Houston DWI suspect who escaped from hospital captured 5 days later," 18 June 2018 After the two boys were moved into the police car, an officer at the end of Lindell's video said the boys were not under arrest. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "A police officer pointed his gun at 4 unarmed, black teens. Now police are investigating," 12 July 2018 The focus of this administration and the Congress should be on addressing the factors that contribute to the under count of minorities rather than advocating for untested questions that undermine full participation in the Census. Deborah Barfield Berry, USA TODAY, "Census urged to exclude undocumented immigrants in congressional seat count," 8 June 2018 The restrictions are part of a broader campaign against corruption and capital flight, in which big-ticket foreign purchases like soccer clubs have come under scrutiny as possible money-laundering ventures. New York Times, "China Won’t Play in This World Cup. It Still Hopes to Profit.," 30 May 2018 Ted Lieu of California and Don Beyer of Virginia, which noted that some of the matters may already be under review as part of other inspector general investigations into Pruitt's behavior while atop the agency. Sophie Tatum And Rene Marsh, CNN, "EPA inspector general details numerous reviews into Scott Pruitt's actions," 27 Apr. 2018 The age 2 and under hunt starts at 10:30 a.m.; age 3 to 5 hunt at 10:45; age 6 to 10 hunt at 11. Amy Ellis, courant.com, "Easter Egg Hunts And Bunny Breakfasts Galore In CT," 19 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for under

Last Updated

2 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for under

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

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More Definitions for under



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 \

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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on under

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with under

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for under

Spanish Central: Translation of under

Nglish: Translation of under for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of under for Arabic Speakers

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