under-the-counter

adjective

un·​der-the-count·​er ˈən-dər-ṯẖə-ˈkau̇n-tər How to pronounce under-the-counter (audio)
: surreptitious and usually irregular or illicit
under-the-counter liquor sales

Examples of under-the-counter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Have a variety — an overhead light; warm-toned, under-the-counter LED task strips. Kim Cook, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'under-the-counter.' 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

from the hiding of illicit wares under the counter of stores where they are sold

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of under-the-counter was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near under-the-counter

Cite this Entry

“Under-the-counter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/under-the-counter. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

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