1. In a lower place; below.
a. Lower than; below: a drawer beneath a cabinet.
b. To or into a lower position than: moved the picture beneath the light.
2. Covered or concealed by: The earth lay beneath a blanket of snow.
3. Under the force, control, or influence of.
a. Lower than, as in rank or station.
b. Unworthy of; unbefitting: It was beneath me to beg.
[Middle English binethe, from Old English beneothan : be, by; see BY1 + neothan, below.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.