Below the water’s surface; submerged in water.
- How long can you hold your breath underwater for?
- Some tunnels go underwater so that cars can cross rivers or other bodies of water.
- Are you scared of going underwater?
Having one’s identity concealed, usually as part of an investigation. You’ll often find this in the phrase to go undercover.
- For this assignment, we’ll have you go undercover in this area to conduct research.
- One cop went undercover while speaking to some of the suspects.
- The whole time, it turns out, he was an undercover sky.
3. UNDER THE WEATHER
Feeling sick, though not to an extreme degree. You can either be under the weather or feel under the weather, though this is starting to become somewhat of an outdated expression.
A: How are you doing?
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B: I’m good, just a little under the weather.
- I heard Martha’s feeling under the weather today.
4. UNDER THE LAW
According to the law; in conformity with the law.
- Freedom of speech is supposed to be a protected right under the law in the U.S.
- Marijuana use is now legal under Colorado’s laws.
5. UNDER A NAME
To perform an action under a certain name means to do it with a certain identity you have given yourself, such as a name you have made up.
For example, you could write a book under a certain name, be a performer under a certain name, publish an article under a certain name, etc.
- He doesn’t write books under his own name. He uses a pen name instead.
- The author of Harry Potter published the series under the name of J. K. Rowling instead of her full name because she was told it would appear more masculine.
- She publishes her blog posts under the username karlfox92.
6. UNDER THE INFLUENCE
This phrase is a more formal way of saying drunk or intoxicated (or under the effect of drugs), and is especially used for legal charges.
For example, if you’re caught drinking and driving, you’ll be charged with a DUI, which stands for driving under the influence. If you want to be more specific with this phrase, you can also say under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of drugs.
A: Wasn’t Jasper acting strange last night?
B: Yeah, I’m sure he was under the influence of something.
- Was he under the influence when the cops pulled him over?
7. UNDER A SPELL
Affected by a spell, either magical or figurative.
- The witch waved her wand, and the princess instantly fell under an evil spell.
- I was caught under his spell since the moment we made eye contact. (Used in a romantic sense)
- All I can do is think of him. It’s almost like I’m under a magic spell.
Someone who is not expected to win or be successful. This can be in the context of a game/competition or in social life.
- I always like rooting for the underdog.
- My favorite movies are where the protagonist is the underdog who eventually makes it out on top.
- We were definitely the underdogs in the game, but we gave it our all either way.
9. UNDER ARREST
In the state of being arrested and under the custody of the police. This is both a commonly used and legal term.
- You’re under arrest for public intoxication, sir.
- What am I under arrest for?
10. UNDER CONSTRUCTION
In the middle of the process of construction.
- The whole site will be under construction until the beginning of September.
- I think the road ahead is under construction. We’ll have to take a detour.
- The cable cars are under construction until further notice.
11. UNDER CONTRACT
Bound by an established contract to do or not do certain things.
- You can’t change your service provider as long as you’re under contract with your current one.
- He’s obligated under contract to work at least 40 hours a week.
- We have our food catered exclusively by them under contract.
12. UNDER A TIME CRUNCH
Having little time left before a deadline.
- Sorry for being unresponsive this week. I’ve been under a time crunch to finish this assignment.
- Hurry up! We’re under a time crunch!
- I hate working under a time crunch, but it makes me more productive.
13. UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES
If something is true under certain circumstances, it means that it’s true while those circumstances or conditions are true. If something is true under no circumstances, it means that it can never be true, regardless of the situation.
- I’m not saying what he did was right, but they could be justified under the circumstances.
- Under no circumstances may you bring a guest onto these premises.
14. TO UNDERGO
To experience something, usually temporary; to be subjected to something. The verb is irregularly conjugated just like the verb to go (i.e., underwent, undergone).
- Gabe told me he’s been undergoing a lot of stress this semester.
- You have to undergo certain difficulties in order to come out a stronger person.
- She underwent a lot of mood swings during her pregnancy.
15. TO GO UNDER
1. To fail or go bankrupt (usually used with businesses or projects).
- The startup quickly went under after a matter of three months.
- The company had been going under ever since its association with scandalous activities.
- The project eventually went under due to a lack of funding.
2. To sink underwater.
- The boat went under after hitting a large rock and tipping over.
- No one was sure why the ship went under, but all the passengers were luckily safe.
16. UNDER THREAT (OF)
In the state of being threatened by something or someone; because of being threatened. Can be found in the phrase to come under threat.
- The whole area came under threat of impending natural disasters.
- Thanks to the economy, many of us live under threat of losing our jobs.
- The doctor told me my life would come under threat if I didn’t change my current lifestyle.
17. TO GET UNDER ONE’S SKIN
To bother or annoy someone a lot.
- I love him like a brother, but sometimes he really gets under my skin.
- I feel like I’m getting under his skin sometimes.
- People who buy groceries just to let them all expire really get under my skin.
Someone who learns an actor’s role in a play in order to be able to replace them at short notice. Having understudies is common for any serious production.
- I got cast as an understudy for one of the community theater’s plays.
- The lead actor came down with a cold, so the understudy will take over this weekend.
- Would you be happy as an understudy?
19. UNDERNEATH IT ALL
In reality or actuality; contrary to how things seem. This phrase is often used with people’s personalities.
- Underneath it all, he’s actually a very sensitive guy.
- You’re a completely different person, underneath it all.
20. UNDER ONE’S ROOF
Living in one’s household. It’s usually used in threats like the following.
- You have to come home by midnight as long as you’re living under my roof.
- As long as you’re under my roof, you’ll do chores like the rest of us.