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under - definition and synonyms

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adverb, preposition     under pronunciation in British English
Under can be used in the following ways:
as a preposition (followed by a noun or number): There are piles of books under my desk.The total cost of the project is just under £2.2 million.The technology has been under development since the early 1980s.
as an adverb (without a following noun): Jump into the water and see how long you can stay under.Children aged five and under can get in for half-price.
  1. 1
    below or covered by something
    1. a.
      directly below or at a lower level than something

      We took shelter under an oak tree.

      What are you kids doing under the table?

      You might like to place the dish under a hot grill just before serving.

      from under:

      Charlotte saw a light coming from under the door.

      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      covered by something

      She was wearing a money belt under her sweater.

      I found the letter under a pile of books.

    3. c.
      moving to a place that is below something or that is covered by it

      I think the ball rolled under the sofa.

      Everyone ran under the trees when it started to rain.

      She slid under the quilt and closed her eyes.

    4. d.
      passing below something from one side to the other

      We drove under the bridge and came out into the High Street.

      The cord will have to go under the table and behind the couch.

      Synonyms and related words
    5. e.
      below the surface of water

      The ducks kept diving under the water to catch fish.

      He was the first person to claim there was oil under the North Sea.

      She jumped in the pool and went under.

      Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    less than a particular amount, or younger than a particular age

    There is a working holiday scheme for British citizens, but you have to be under 26.

    Together they control just under 50% of the company.

    A visa is not required for a stay of under three months.

    The car can get from standstill up to 60 miles per hour in under six seconds.

    The nursery is open for children aged four and under.

    See also underage
  3. 3
    in the process of being affected or controlled by a particular action, situation, or state

    The ship came under attack from enemy aircraft.

    The building is still under construction.

    Costello’s business dealings have been under investigation by the FBI for months.

    I’ve been under a lot of stress at work lately.

    Police claim the situation is now under control.

    Evidence suggests that the driver of the car was under the influence of drugs.

  4. 4
    used for saying that something happens when particular conditions exist

    His older brother was forced to leave Hong Kong the year before under similar circumstances.

    The UN inspectors would be allowed access to the eight sites, but only under certain conditions.

    under the circumstances:

    Under the circumstances, Kane felt he had no option but to resign.

  5. 5
    according to a particular law, agreement, or system

    Under the terms of the agreement, our company will receive 40% of the profits.

    The boy is considered a minor under British law.

  6. 6
    used for stating that something happens when a particular person or government is in power

    The book describes life in Russia under the Soviet regime.

    Dr Owen had served as Foreign Secretary under the previous government.

    Some former conservatives are returning to the party under the new leader.

  7. 7
    using a particular name in official situations, often a name that is not your own

    Carson had been travelling under a false name.

    Wight’s books, published under the pen name James Herriot, became best-sellers.

    Ms Hay has continued to work under her maiden name since her marriage.

  8. 8
    if you work or study under a particular person, they are your employer or teacher

    I’ve worked under a few managers in my time, and Mr Laurie is undoubtedly the best.

    He studied under Chomsky in the 1960s.

  9. 9
    if something is under a particular section, word, letter etc, this is where it can be found

    Look under Section Q and you’ll find all the details.

    Those forms are in the filing cabinet under ‘Miscellaneous’.

    The tickets should be under the name ‘Carlson’.

  10. 10
    unconscious after being given a drug to prevent you from feeling pain

    The nurse was still speaking as I felt myself going under.

  11. 11
    believing that something is happening or is true, especially when you are wrong about this
    be under the impression/delusion:

    I was under the impression that Faye had paid for the trip herself – but it seems I was wrong.

  12. 12
    receiving some type of medical treatment

    Several players are under treatment for injuries.

    under the doctor:

    She’s been under the doctor for her skin problems.

    under sedation/anaesthetic:

    Many of the victims were under sedation after the attack.

  13. 13
    during a particular period of the Zodiac

    I was born under the sign of Taurus, the bull.

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