under Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “under” in the English Dictionary

"under" in British English

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underpreposition

uk   /ˈʌn.dər/  us   /-dɚ/
  • under preposition (LOWER POSITION)

A1 in or to a ​position below or ​lower than something ​else, often so that one thing ​covers the other: He ​hid under the ​bed. In AD 79 the ​city of Pompei was ​buried under a ​layer of ​ash seven ​metresdeep. She put the ​thermometer under my ​tongue. She was ​holding a ​folder under her ​arm (= between her ​upperarm and the ​side of her ​body). They ​stood under a ​tree (= below ​itsbranches) to ​avoid getting ​wet. specialized geography If a ​piece of ​land is under a ​particulartype of ​plant, that ​plant is ​growing on the ​whole of that ​area: The ​mainfields are under ​wheat. If a ​book, ​article, or ​piece of ​information is under a ​particulartitle, you can ​find it below or ​following that ​title in a ​list, ​book, ​library, etc.: Books on Ansel Adams will ​probably be under Art or Photography. Custard? That comes under Desserts.

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  • under preposition (LESS THAN)

A2 less than: All ​itemscost/are under a ​pound. The ​discountapplies only to ​children under (the ​age of) ten (= ​younger than ten). If you get under 50 ​percent, you ​fail the ​exam.
Opposite

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  • under preposition (EXPERIENCING)

B2 happening during, as a ​result of, or ​according to a ​particularsituation, ​event, ​rule, etc.: The ​work was ​completed under very ​difficultconditions. Now that the ​deadline is ​approaching we all ​feel under ​pressure. The ​chairbroke under his ​weight (= because he was too ​heavy for it). Under the ​currentrules, you need the ​agreement of at least 6 out of 10 ​committeemembers.under attack, consideration, discussion, etc. B2 in the ​process of being ​attacked, ​considered, ​discussed, etc.: The ​town is under fire (= is being ​attacked) from the ​air. The ​proposals are now under consideration by the Board of Governors. The ​situation is still not under control.under sedation, anaesthetic, etc. UK treated in the way ​mentioned: The ​patient is being ​kept under ​heavysedation. She'll have to go under ​anaesthetic for the ​operation.old-fashioned She's been under the ​doctor for a ​viralinfection.be under an impression/belief B2 to ​believe something, often ​wrongly: He was under the ​mistakenbelief that I was in ​charge.

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  • under preposition (CONTROL)

controlled or ​governed by a ​particularperson, ​organization, or ​force: He's a ​Colonel, with hundreds of ​soldiers under him (= ​obeying his ​orders). I ​wonder what ​Britain was like under the Romans (= during the ​time when the Romans ​controlledBritain). People ​born under (= during the ​period of) the ​zodiacsignPisces are ​supposed to be ​dreamy and ​artistic.be under orders to have been ​ordered to do something: They're under ​strictorders not to ​discuss the ​situation. He's under doctor'sorders (= has been told by a ​doctor) to ​cut down on ​fattyfood and to ​drink no ​alcohol for at least six ​months.

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  • under preposition (NAME)

using a ​particularname, ​especially one that is not ​yourrealname: He writes under the ​name (of) John le Carré. For his own ​safety, he has to ​operate under a ​falsename/an ​alias.

underadverb

uk   /ˈʌn.dər/  us   /-dɚ/
below the ​surface of something: Because I'm a ​badswimmer, I often go under and ​swallow a lot of ​water.

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Idioms

under-prefix

uk   /ʌn.dər-/  us   /-dɚ-/
(Definition of under from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"under" in American English

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underpreposition

 us   /ˌʌn·dər/
  • under preposition (LOWER POSITION)

in or to a ​position below or ​lower than (something ​else), often so that one thing ​covers the other: Our ​doghides under the ​bedwhenever we have a ​lightningstorm. She was ​holding the ​umbrella under her ​arm (= between her ​upperarm and the ​side of her ​chest).
  • under preposition (LESS THAN)

less than: The ​price is still under a ​dollar. Scholarship ​candidates must be under 21 and ​plan to ​attendcollege in the ​fall.
  • under preposition (EXPERIENCING)

in the ​process of, ​influenced or ​controlled by, or ​according to: Construction had to be done under ​difficultconditions. Under ​currentlaw, ​stores in this ​town can’t do ​business on ​Sunday. We ​likedworking under her because she made us ​feelappreciated. "Where can I ​findbooks on ​swimming?" "Look under ​sports (= within the ​subject of ​sports)." We ​seemed to be under ​attack (= in the ​process of being ​attacked) by a ​swarm of ​bees. Yourrequest for a ​transfer to ​our Denver ​office is under ​consideration (= being ​considered). I was under the ​impression (= I ​believed) that she was ​married. I ​find it ​difficult to ​work under ​pressure (= with this ​influence).

underadverb [not gradable]

 us   /ˈʌn·dər/
less than something ​else: There is no ​admissioncharge for ​children six and under.
below or ​lower than something ​else: Several ​lifeguardstrieddesperately to ​reach him before he went under (= ​sank below the ​surface of the ​water).

under-prefix

 us   /ˌʌn·dər/
not enough: The ​potatoes were undercooked. Classes were too ​large because the ​school was ​understaffed.
(Definition of under from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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