use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

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:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

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.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

under-
Share:
pref.
1. Beneath or below in position: underground.
2. Inferior or subordinate in rank or importance: undersecretary.
3. Less in degree, rate, or quantity than normal or proper: undersized.

[Middle English, from Old English; see dher- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
un·der (ŭndər)
Share:
prep.
1.
a. In a lower position or place than: a rug under a chair.
b. To or into a lower position or place than: rolled the ball under the couch.
2. Beneath the surface of: under the ground; swam under water.
3. Beneath the assumed surface or guise of: traveled under a false name.
4. Less than; smaller than: The jar's capacity is under three quarts.
5. Less than the required amount or degree of: under voting age.
6. Inferior to in status or rank: nine officers under me at headquarters.
7. Subject to the authority, rule, or control of: under a dictatorship.
8. Subject to the supervision, instruction, or influence of: under parental guidance.
9. Undergoing or receiving the effects of: under constant care.
10. Subject to the restraint or obligation of: under contract.
11. Within the group or classification of: listed under biology.
12. In the process of: under discussion.
13. In view of; because of: under these conditions.
14. With the authorization of: under the monarch's seal.
15. Sowed or planted with: an acre under oats.
16. Nautical Powered or propelled by: under sail; under steam.
17. During the time conventionally assigned to (a sign of the zodiac): born under Aries.
adv.
1. In or into a place below or beneath: struggled in the water but then slipped under.
2. So as to be covered or enveloped: arranged the blankets so the kids were completely under.
3. So as to be less than the required amount or degree: 10 degrees or under.
4. So as to be rendered unconscious, as by an anesthetic: Doctors put the patient under.
5. In or into a condition of ruin or death: businesses that have gone under.
adj.
1. Located or situated on a lower level or beneath something else: the under parts of a machine.
2. Lower in rank, power, or authority; subordinate.
3. Less than is required or customary: an under dose of medication.
Idiom:
out from under Informal
Having gotten free of worries or difficulties: Credit counseling helped us get out from under.

[Middle English, from Old English; see dher- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.