What is the meaning of "under" in the following sentence ?

The bear swam across the lake and stopped when the bear got to the shore and stuck just the top of the bear's head out of the water. The bees were still circling around the place where the bear had gone under.

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Does "under" in the sentence mean "through under the water(the lake)" ?

Does "The bear had gone under" mean "The bear dived down the water and left in the place through under the water" ?

2 Answers 2


The sentence is "the bees were still circling around the place where he had gone under"

Let's break this down. We know that the bees are circling around somewhere.

Where are they circling? The place where the bear had gone under.

What did the bear go under? We know from context that the bear went under the water.

Thus, the sentence is saying "the bees are circling around the place where the bear had gone under the water".

The bees are not circling around where the bear stuck his head out, for that is not the place he went under the water. From these sentences, we do not know where the bear went under the water, we just know that a) he did go under the water at some place, and that b) that exact place is where the bees are circling.


To 'go under' generally means to die. But in this context, it definitely doesn't mean that the bear died.

Hypothetically, let's assume this is what happened.

The bear, who is known for his fondness of honey, decided to give himself a treat, off a functional honeycomb. As we know, bees work very hard for honey and would risk their lives to protect their hives. The bear attacks and knocks down the honeycomb, but gets attacked by the furious bees. Now, owing to his natural instincts, he knows that diving into water is the only solution to a bee ambush. Since bears are natural swimmers, he decides to dive into the water and hide elsewhere, until the bees have left. He swam across lake and pops his head up, to see if the bees have left.

So from this, 'under' would only mean 'dived underwater', or simple mean 'went into hiding'. He had dived to escaped from the bees and the bees are waiting for him, at the other side of the lake, where the bear had apparently 'gone missing', from the perspective of the bees.

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