Etym: [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. sq. root201. 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.
Note: 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. Under arms. (Mil.) (a) Drawn up fully armed and equipped. (b) Enrolled for military service; as, the state has a million men under arms.
— Under canvas. (a) (Naut.) Moved or propelled by sails; — said of any vessel with her sail set, but especially of a steamer using her sails only, as distinguished from one under steam. Under steam and canvas signifies that a vessel is using both means of propulsion. (b) (Mil.) Provided with, or sheltered in, tents.
— Under fire, exposed to an enemy’s fire; taking part in a battle or general engagement.
— Under foot. See under
— Under ground, below the surface of the ground.
— Under one’s signature, with one’s signature or name subscribed; attested or confirmed by one’s signature. Cf. the second Note under Over, prep.
— Under sail. (Naut.) (a) With anchor up, and under the influence of sails; moved by sails; in motion. (b) With sails set, though the anchor is down. (c) Same as Under canvas (a), above. Totten.
— Under sentence, having had one’s sentence pronounced.
— Under the breath, with low voice; very softly.
— Under the lee (Naut.), to the leeward; as, under the lee of the land.
— Under the rose. See under
— Under water, below the surface of the water.
— Under way, or Under weigh (Naut.), in a condition to make progress; having started.
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. Under covert (ZoÃ¶l.), one of the feathers situated beneath the bases of the quills in the wings and tail of a bird. See Illust. under Bird.