Meaning of UNDER in English


un ‧ der S1 W1 /ˈʌndə $ -ər/ BrE AmE preposition , adverb

[ Language: Old English ]

1 . BELOW below or at a lower level than something, or covered by something OPP over :

Wendy had hidden the box under her bed.

We sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Write your name under your picture.

I could see something glittering under the water.

He was wearing a jacket under his coat.

Under her arm, she carried a large portfolio.

In summer, we often slept under the stars.

I’d scare my mom by diving in and staying under (=staying under the water) for as long as I could.

The bench collapsed under the weight of (=unable to support the weight of) so many people.

2 . LESS THAN less than a particular number, amount, age, or price OPP over :

These toys are not suitable for children under five.

Most of the events listed cost under £60.

I spend just under four hours a day seeing customers.

and/or under

Children aged 12 or under must be accompanied by an adult.

be under age (=be too young to legally drink, have sex etc)

3 . HAVING SOMETHING DONE TO IT used to say what is being done to something or how it is being dealt with

under discussion/consideration/review etc

The possibility of employing more staff is still under discussion (=being discussed, considered etc) .

All categories of expenditure are under review.

Four new power stations are currently under construction.

The port was coming under attack from enemy warships.

4 . AFFECTED BY SOMETHING affected by a particular condition, influence, or situation:

She’s been under a lot of pressure at work.

under the influence of alcohol/drink/drugs etc

He was accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

The operation was carried out while she was under general anaesthetic.

I’m glad to see that you have everything under control.

Two of our national parks are currently under threat from road schemes.

The doctor injected something into my arm and I immediately felt myself going under (=becoming unconscious) .

5 . under ... conditions/circumstances if something happens under particular conditions, it happens when those conditions exist:

I wish I’d met him under different circumstances.

The system operates well under normal conditions.

6 . LAW/AGREEMENT according to a particular agreement, law etc:

the question of whether the trade is illegal under international law

Under the terms of the agreement, the debt will be repaid over a 20-year period.

7 . IN POWER if something happens under a particular leader, government etc, it happens when they are in power:

a program initiated under President Clinton and continued under President Bush

Under her leadership, the magazine’s circulation doubled in less than a year.

Would it have been different under a Labour government?

8 . POSITION AT WORK if you work under someone, they have a higher position in the company, organization etc than you, and they help to direct your work:

She had a total staff of ten working under her.

From 1847 to 1851 he served under Captain John Randolph Stokes.

At Cambridge he studied under (=was a student of) F. R. Leavis.

9 . WHERE INFORMATION IS used to say in which part of a book, list, or system particular information can be found

be/be filed/be listed etc under

The baby’s records are filed under the mother’s last name.

10 . DIFFERENT NAME if you write or do something under a particular name, you do it using that name instead of your real name:

He made a few records under the name of Joe Ritchie.

• • •


▪ under something that is under something else has that thing directly above it or covering it:

The pen was under the desk.


She had a T-shirt on under her sweater.

▪ below in a lower position than something else, though not always directly under it:

From the cliffs we could barely see the people on the beach below us.


His apartment is below ours on the left.

▪ underneath under – used especially to emphasize that something covers, touches, or hides something:

The girls wear shorts underneath their cheerleading skirts.


I found the book underneath the sofa.

▪ beneath formal under or at a lower level:

They strolled hand in hand beneath the summer moon.


The water lies just beneath the surface of the earth.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.