under Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. adjective satellite located below or beneath something else
    • nether garments
    • the under parts of a machine
  2. adjective satellite lower in rank, power, or authority
    • an under secretary
  3. adverb down to defeat, death, or ruin
    • their competitors went under
  4. adverb through a range downward
    • children six and under will be admitted free
  5. adverb into unconsciousness
    • this will put the patient under
  6. adverb in or into a state of subordination or subjugation
    • we must keep our disappointment under
  7. adverb below some quantity or limit
    • fifty dollars or under
  8. adverb below the horizon
    • the sun went under
  9. adverb down below
    • get under quickly!
  10. adverb further down
    • see under for further discussion


Un"der preposition
AS. under, prep. & adv.; akin to OFries. under, OS. undar, D. onder, G. unter, OHG. untar, Icel. undir, Sw. & Dan. under, Goth. undar, L. infra below, inferior lower, Skr. adhas below. Cf. Inferior.
  1. Below or lower, in place or position, with the idea of being covered; lower than; beneath; -- opposed to over; as, he stood under a tree; the carriage is under cover; a cellar extends under the whole house.
    Fruit put in bottles, and the bottles let down into wells under water, will keep long. Bacon.
    Be gathered now, ye waters under heaven, Into one place. Milton.
  2. Hence, in many figurative uses which may be classified as follows; -- (a) Denoting relation to some thing or person that is superior, weighs upon, oppresses, bows down, governs, directs, influences powerfully, or the like, in a relation of subjection, subordination, obligation, liability, or the like; as, to travel under a heavy load; to live under extreme oppression; to have fortitude under the evils of life; to have patience under pain, or under misfortunes; to behave like a Christian under reproaches and injuries; under the pains and penalties of the law; the condition under which one enters upon an office; under the necessity of obeying the laws; under vows of chastity.
    Both Jews and Gentiles . . . are all under sin. Rom. iii. 9.
    That led the embattled seraphim to war Under thy conduct. Milton.
    Who have their provand Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows For sinking under them. Shak.
    (b) Denoting relation to something that exceeds in rank or degree, in number, size, weight, age, or the like; in a relation of the less to the greater, of inferiority, or of falling short.
    Three sons he dying left under age. Spenser.
    Medicines take effect sometimes under, and sometimes above, the natural proportion of their virtue. Hooker.
    There are several hundred parishes in England under twenty pounds a year. Swift.
    It was too great an honor for any man under a duke. Addison.
    ✍ Hence, it sometimes means at, with, or for, less than; as, he would not sell the horse under sixty dollars.
    Several young men could never leave the pulpit under half a dozen conceits. Swift.
    (c) Denoting relation to something that comprehends or includes, that represents or designates, that furnishes a cover, pretext, pretense, or the like; as, he betrayed him under the guise of friendship; Morpheus is represented under the figure of a boy asleep.
    A crew who, under names of old renown . . . abused Fanatic Egypt. Milton.
    Mr. Duke may be mentioned under the double capacity of a poet and a divine. Felton.
    Under this head may come in the several contests and wars betwixt popes and the secular princes. C. Leslie.
    (d) Less specifically, denoting the relation of being subject, of undergoing regard, treatment, or the like; as, a bill under discussion.
    Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood, Under amazement of their hideous change. Milton.
Un"der adverb
  1. In a lower, subject, or subordinate condition; in subjection; -- used chiefly in a few idiomatic phrases; as, to bring under, to reduce to subjection; to subdue; to keep under, to keep in subjection; to control; to go under, to be unsuccessful; to fail.
    I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection. 1 Cor. ix. 27.
    The minstrel fell, but the foeman's chain Could not bring his proud soul under. Moore.
    Under is often used in composition with a verb to indicate lowness or inferiority in position or degree, in the act named by the verb; as, to underline; to undermine; to underprop.
Un"der adjective
  1. Lower in position, intensity, rank, or degree; subject; subordinate; -- generally in composition with a noun, and written with or without the hyphen; as, an undercurrent; undertone; underdose; under-garment; underofficer; undersheriff.

Webster 1913