Main Difference: Below and Under are two prepositions that have similar meanings. Both refer to ‘in a lower position than’. The difference between below and under exists in the usage.
Below – Meaning and Usage
All the common uses and meanings of below are related to the idea of “lower or less than”. This word came in to use as a preposition in the 16th Century and frequently seen in Shakespeare’s work. Below can be used in the following situations.
When one thing is not directly or physically under another.
The sun disappeared below the horizon.
Nepal ranks below Sri Lanka.
In middle Ages, the aristocracy was ranked below the monarchy.
Talking about temperature and height (used in measurements where we think of a vertical scale)
The temperature was below minus degrees.
Some parts of the city are below sea level.
She was a student of below average intelligence.
Under – Meaning and Usage
Under can be used to generate the following meanings.
When something is covered by something else
The key was under the flower pot.
The cat is sleeping under the bed.
He has a deep sense of humor under his quiet and serious exterior.
Managed or governed by
He is completely under her spell.
The water Board is under the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Younger or less than
Children under the age of ten can participate in this race.
There were under 10 students in the class.
Undergoing (a process)
This building is under construction.
The issue under discussion was cyber crimes.
Difference Between Below and Under
Difference in Meaning
Below is used when one thing is not directly or physically under another. It can also be used in measurements where we think of a vertical scale.
Under is used when talking about something being covered by something. It can also mean younger or less than and governed or controlled by.
Below is used less when compared to under.
Under is used more widely than below.
Below came into use as a preposition in the 16th Century.
Under is an Old English word of Germanic origin.