work under (someone or something)
1. To perform some work while physically underneath someone or something. I tried to ignore the party in the apartment above me, but trying to work under such noisy people was driving me crazy. Why don't you work under the awning? You're getting soaked in that rain.
2. To perform some work on something that is beneath or on the underside of something else. The mechanic spotted an issue with the fan belt when he was working under the hood of the car. Working under the house has revealed some major problems with the foundation.
3. To cause something to go or fit beneath something else through forceful or constant exertions. You'll have to work a crowbar under the floorboard in order to pry it up. He worked his fingers under the plastic coating and peeled it off of the machine.
4. To work in an inferior position to someone else; to report to someone in a higher position of authority. You'll be working under Sarah for this project, as she has the most experience with the system. I work directly under the Attorney General, so you can direct all of your questions to me.
5. To perform work being subjected to some condition or status. That's it—I quit! I can't work under such stressful conditions any longer! Making your employees work under so much pressure is going to result in poor performance from them. I actually work much more efficiently under a strict deadline.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
work something under something
to manipulate something beneath something. She worked the knife blade under the window and tried to pry the window up. Work the envelope under the office door. She will find it when she opens the door in the morning.
work under someone
to have one's work supervised by someone. I work under Michael, who is head of the department. Who do you work under?
work under something
to work underneath something. I have to work under the car for a while. Please don't start it. The plumber had to work under the house to fix the pipes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.