Etymology
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Words related to under

understand (v.)
Origin and meaning of understand

Old English understandan "to comprehend, grasp the idea of, receive from a word or words or from a sign the idea it is intended to convey; to view in a certain way," probably literally "stand in the midst of," from under + standan "to stand" (see stand (v.)).

If this is the meaning, the under is not the usual word meaning "beneath," but from Old English under, from PIE *nter- "between, among" (source also of Sanskrit antar "among, between," Latin inter "between, among," Greek entera "intestines;" see inter-). Related: Understood; understanding.

That is the suggestion in Barnhart, but other sources regard the "among, between, before, in the presence of" sense of Old English prefix and preposition under as other meanings of the same word. "Among" seems to be the sense in many Old English compounds that resemble understand, such as underniman "to receive," undersecan "examine, investigate, scrutinize" (literally "underseek"), underðencan "consider, change one's mind," underginnan "to begin."

It also seems to be the sense still in expressions such as under such circumstances. Perhaps the ultimate sense is "be close to;" compare Greek epistamai "I know how, I know," literally "I stand upon."

Similar formations are found in Old Frisian (understonda), Middle Danish (understande), while other Germanic languages use compounds meaning "stand before" (German verstehen, represented in Old English by forstanden "understand," also "oppose, withstand"). For this concept, most Indo-European languages use figurative extensions of compounds that literally mean "put together," or "separate," or "take, grasp" (see comprehend).

The range of spellings of understand in Middle English (understont, understounde, unþurstonde, onderstonde, hunderstonde, oundyrston, wonderstande, urdenstonden, etc.) perhaps reflects early confusion over the elements of the compound. Old English oferstandan, Middle English overstonden, literally "over-stand" seem to have been used only in literal senses.

By mid-14c. as "to take as meant or implied (though not expressed); imply; infer; assume; take for granted." The intransitive sense of "have the use of the intellectual faculties; be an intelligent and conscious being" also is in late Old English. In Middle English also "reflect, muse, be thoughtful; imagine; be suspicious of; pay attention, take note; strive for; plan, intend; conceive (a child)." Also sometimes literal, "to occupy space at a lower level" (late 14c.) and, figuratively, "to submit." For "to stand under" in a physical sense, Old English had undergestandan.

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hereunder (adv.)
"under this," early 15c., from here + under.
infra- 
word-forming element meaning "below, beneath," from Latin infra (adverb and preposition) "below, underneath, on the under side, beneath," also "later than; smaller than; inferior to," related to infernus "low, below," from PIE *ndher "under" (source also of Sanskrit adnah "below," Old English under "under, among;" see under). Modern popular use of it dates from the 1920s, as an opposite to super-, often in science fiction. "This use of infra- is scarcely a Latin one" [OED].
thereunder (adv.)
Old English þærunder; see there + under. Similar formation in Old Frisian therunder, German darunter.
under-achiever (n.)
also underachiever, 1953, from under + agent noun from achieve (v.). Under-achievement is recorded from 1951.
underage (adj.)
also under-age, 1590s, from under + age (n.).
underarm (adj.)
1816, "underhand" (in reference to a style of throwing), from under + arm (n.1). First attested 1908 in dressmaking sense of "seams on the lower half of the arm-hole;" as a euphemism for armpit, it is attested from 1930s, popularized by advertisers.
underbelly (n.)
c. 1600, from under + belly (n.). In figurative sense of "most vulnerable part" it is recorded from Churchill's 1942 speech. Sometimes used erroneously or euphemistically in sense of "seamy or sordid part" of anything.
underbid (v.)
1610s, from under + bid (v.). Related: Underbidding.
underbred (adj.)
"of inferior breeding, vulgar," 1640s, from under + past participle of breed (v.). Of animals, "not pure bred," attested from 1890.