In addition to the uses shown below, under is also used in phrasal verbs such as `go under' and `knuckle under'.
1 prep If a person or thing is under something, they are at a lower level than that thing, and may be covered or hidden by it.
...swimming in the pool or lying under an umbrella..., Under a wide shelf that holds coffee jars stands a pile of magazines..., She buried her head under the covers, pretending to be asleep..., A path runs under the trees.
2 prep In a place such as a sea, river, or swimming pool, if someone or something is under the water, they are fully in the water and covered by it.
They said he'd been held under the water and drowned..., Goldfish were swimming lazily in a group just under the surface.
Under is also an adverb., adv ADV after v
When the water was up to his neck, a hand came from behind and pushed his head under.
3 prep If you go under something, you move from one side to the other of something that is at a higher level than you.
He went under a brick arch..., A river boat passed under the bridge.
4 prep Something that is under a layer of something, especially clothing, is covered by that layer.
I was wearing two sweaters under the green army jacket..., It was hard to see the colours under the layer of dust.
5 prep You can use under before a noun to indicate that a person or thing is being affected by something or is going through a particular process.
...fishermen whose livelihoods are under threat..., I'm rarely under pressure and my co-workers are always nice to me..., Firemen said they had the blaze under control..., He was rushed to court yesterday under armed guard.
6 prep If something happens under particular circumstances or conditions, it happens when those circumstances or conditions exist.
His best friend was killed by police under extremely questionable circumstances..., Under normal conditions, only about 20 to 40 per cent of vitamin E is absorbed...
7 prep If something happens under a law, agreement, or system, it happens because that law, agreement, or system says that it should happen.
Under law, your employer has the right to hire a temporary worker to replace you..., Under the Constitution, you cannot be tried twice for the same crime.
8 prep If something happens under a particular person or government, it happens when that person or government is in power.
There would be no new taxes under his leadership., ...the realities of life under a brutal dictatorship...
9 prep If you study or work under a particular person, that person teaches you or tells you what to do.
Kiefer was just one of the artists who had studied under Beuys in the early Sixties..., I am the new manager and you will be working under me.
10 prep If you do something under a particular name, you use that name instead of your real name.
Were any of your books published under the name Amanda Fairchild?..., The patient was registered under a false name.
11 prep You use under to say which section of a list, book, or system something is in.
This study is described under `General Diseases of the Eye'..., `Where would it be?'—`Filed under C, second drawer down.'
12 prep If something or someone is under a particular age or amount, they are less than that age or amount.
PREP amount (Antonym: over)
...jobs for those under 65..., Expenditure this year should be just under 15 billion pounds.
Under is also an adverb., adv amount and ADV
...free childminding service for 5's and under.
People sometimes refer to Australia and New Zealand as down under.
INFORMAL phrase prep PHR, PHR after v
For summer skiing down under, there is no better place than New Zealand.
If you say that you are snowed under, you are emphasizing that you have a lot of work or other things to deal with.
INFORMAL adj v-link ADJ, usu ADJ with n (emphasis)
Ed was snowed under with fan mail when he was doing his television show.
1 prefix Under- is used to form words that express the idea that there is not enough of something. For example if people are underfed, they are not getting enough food.
Make sure that you are not underinsured..., Victorian cut glass is perhaps the most underpriced area of the antique glass market.
2 prefix Under- is added to the beginning of nouns that refer to a job or rank in order to form nouns that refer to a less important job or rank.
...the new undersecretary of education., ...clients who wouldn't deal with an undermanager.
under age , underage
1 adj A person who is under age is legally too young to do something, for example to drink alcohol, have sex, or vote.
Underage youths can obtain alcohol from their older friends., ...girls who have babies when they are under age.
2 adj Under age activities such as drinking or smoking are carried out by people who are legally too young to do them.
...his efforts to stop under age drinking and drug abuse.
under-secretary ( under-secretaries plural ) , undersecretary An under-secretary is a senior official with an important post in a government department. n-count
...Under-Secretary of State Reginald Bartholomew.
under way , underway
If an activity is under way, it has already started. If an activity gets under way, it starts. adj v-link ADJ
An investigation is underway to find out how the disaster happened..., The conference gets under way later today with a debate on the family.