The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Under \Un"der\ ([u^]n"d[~e]r), prep. [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. [root]201. Cf.
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
(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
There are several hundred parishes in England
under twenty pounds a year. --Swift.
It was too great an honor for any man under a
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
A crew who, under names of old renown . . .
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.
(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.
Under arms. (Mil.)
(a) Drawn up fully armed and equipped.
(b) Enrolled for military service; as, the state has a
million men under arms.
(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 Foot, n.
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, Under one's breath, with low voice;
Under the lee (Naut.), to the leeward; as, under the lee of
Under the gun. Under psychological pressure, such as the
need to meet a pressing deadline; feeling pressured
Under water, below the surface of the water.
Under way, or Under weigh (Naut.), in a condition to make
progress; having started.