low

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See also: 'low, low%, Low, and łów

English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English lowe, lohe, lāh, from Old Norse lágr (low), from Proto-Germanic *lēgaz (lying, flat, situated near the ground, low), from Proto-Indo-European *legʰ- (to lie). Cognate with Scots laich (low), Low German leeg (low, feeble, bad), Danish lav (low), Icelandic lágur (low), West Frisian leech (low), North Frisian leeg, liig (low), Dutch laag (low), obsolete German läg (low). More at lie.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

low (comparative lower, superlative lowest)

  1. Situated not far above, or even situated below, the ground or another normal reference plane; not high or lofty.
    standing on low ground   in a low valley, ringed by low hills   a low wall   a low shelf
    • 2012, Tyler Jo Smith, ‎Dimitris Plantzos, A Companion to Greek Art (ISBN 1118273370):
      Narrative friezes in low relief were characteristic of Ionic architecture.
    1. Pertaining to (or, especially of a language: spoken in) in an area which is at a lesser elevation, closer to sea level (especially near the sea), than other regions.
      the low countries   Low German
    2. (baseball, of a ball) Below the batter's knees.
      the pitch (or: the ball) was low
  2. Of less than normal height; below the average or normal level from which elevation is measured.
    a low bow   a low tide   the Mississippi is unusually low right now
  3. Not high in status, esteem, or rank, dignity, or quality. (Compare vulgar.)
    low birth   low rank   the low officials of the bureaucracy   low-quality fabric   playing low tricks on them   a person of low mind
    Now that was low even for you!
    • 1971, Keystone Folklore Quarterly, volume 16, page 208:
      Therefore they must have been common in the 16th century also among the folk first of all not as a high festival food but rather as a low festival and Sunday food, if our experience proves accurate.
    • 1720, The Delphick oracle, page 35:
      Low-Sunday, is the Sunday after Easter, and is so call'd, because it is a low Festival in Comparison of that Day whereon Christ arose from Death to Life again.
  4. Humble, meek, not haughty.
    • 1829, Thomas Watson, Discourses on Important and Interesting Subjects:
      God loves an humble soul. It is not our high birth, but our low hearts God delights in.
  5. Disparaging; assigning little value or excellence.
    She had a low opinion of cats. He took a low view of dogs.
    • 1826, Ebenezer Erskine, The Whole Works of the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, Sermon VII, page 103:
      The humble soul has low thoughts of his own person; as David, 'I am a worm, and no man.'
  6. Being a nadir, a bottom.
    the low point in her career
    • 2012, Faith Hartmann, Only a Fool Would Have Believed It in the First Place (ISBN 1479735930):
      Virginia, for example, reached such a low point in her junior year that she briefly considered suicide [...]
  7. Depressed in mood, dejected, sad.
    low spirits
    • 2016, Rick Riordan, The Hammer of Thor, page 33:
      As low as I felt, at least I didn't have Hunding's [miserable] job.
  8. Lacking health or vitality, strength or vivacity; feeble; weak.
    a low pulse
    made (or: laid) low by sickness
  9. Small, not high (in amount or quantity, value, force, energy, etc).
    My credit union charges a low interest rate.   Jogging during a whiteout, with such low temperatures and low visibility, is dangerous.   The store sold bread at low prices, and milk at even lower prices.   The contractors gave a low estimate of the costs.   low cholesterol   a low voltage wire   a low number
    • 1989, Bernard Smith, Sailloons and Fliptackers: The Limits to High-speed Sailing (ISBN 0930403657):
      Unfortunately, low winds were the rule over the local waters and this craft was no better, if as good, as ordinary sailboats under such conditions.
    • 2013 June 22, “T time”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 68:
      The ability to shift profits to low-tax countries by locating intellectual property in them, which is then licensed to related businesses in high-tax countries, is often assumed to be the preserve of high-tech companies. […] current tax rules make it easy for all sorts of firms to generate […] “stateless income”: profit subject to tax in a jurisdiction that is neither the location of the factors of production that generate the income nor where the parent firm is domiciled.
    1. Having a small or comparatively smaller concentration of (a substance, which is often but not always linked by "in" when predicative).
      diets low in vitamin A   made from low-carbon steel
    2. Depleted, or nearing deletion; lacking in supply.
      running low on cash
      • 2002, V.N. Bashkin, ‎Robert W. Howarth, Modern Biogeochemistry (ISBN 1402009941), page 151:
        When silica is in low supply other classes of algae dominate the phytoplankton composition.
  10. (especially in the field of biology) Simple in complexity or development; (in several set phrases) favoring simplicity; see e.g. low church, Low Tory.
    low protozoan animals, low cryptogamic plants, and other low organisms
  11. (in several set phrases) Being near the equator.
    the low northern latitudes
  12. (acoustics) Grave in pitch, due to being produced by relatively slow vibrations (wave oscillations); flat.
    The note was too low for her to sing.
    Generally, European men have lower voices than their Indian counterparts.
  13. Quiet; soft; not loud.
    They spoke in low voices so I would not hear what they were saying.
    Why would you want to play heavy metal at such a low volume?
  14. (phonetics) Made with a relatively large opening between the tongue and the palate; made with (part of) the tongue positioned low in the mouth, relative to the palate.
  15. (card games) Lesser in value than other cards, denominations, suits, etc.
    a low card
  16. (archaic) Not rich, seasoned, or nourishing; plain, simple.
    a low diet
  17. (of an automobile, gear, etc) Designed for a slow (or the slowest) speed.
    low gear
Synonyms[edit]
Antonyms[edit]
  • (in a position comparatively close to the ground): high
  • (small in length): tall
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

low (plural lows)

  1. Something that is low; a low point.
    You have achieved a new low in behavior, Frank.
    Economic growth has hit a new low.
  2. A depressed mood or situation.
    He is in a low right now
  3. (meteorology) An area of low pressure; a depression.
  4. The lowest-speed gearing of a power-transmission system, especially of an automotive vehicle.
    Shift out of low before the car gets to eight miles per hour.
  5. (card games) The lowest trump, usually the deuce; the lowest trump dealt or drawn.
  6. (slang) (usually accompanied by "the") a cheap, cost-efficient, or advantageous payment or expense.
    He got the brand new Yankees jersey for the low.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

low (comparative lower, superlative lowest)

  1. Close to the ground.
  2. Of a pitch, at a lower frequency.
    • Shakespeare
      Can sing both high and low.
  3. With a low voice or sound; not loudly; gently.
    to speak low
    • Tennyson
      The [] odorous wind / Breathes low between the sunset and the moon.
  4. Under the usual price; at a moderate price; cheaply.
    He sold his wheat low.
  5. In a low mean condition; humbly; meanly.
    • 2014 October 21, Oliver Brown, “Oscar Pistorius jailed for five years – sport afforded no protection against his tragic fallibilities: Bladerunner's punishment for killing Reeva Steenkamp is but a frippery when set against the burden that her bereft parents, June and Barry, must carry [print version: No room for sentimentality in this tragedy, 13 September 2014, p. S22]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Sport)[1]:
      But ever since the concept of "hamartia" recurred through Aristotle's Poetics, in an attempt to describe man's ingrained iniquity, our impulse has been to identify a telling defect in those brought suddenly and dramatically low.
  6. In a time approaching our own.
    • John Locke
      In that part of the world which was first inhabited, even as low down as Abraham's time, they wandered with their flocks and herds.
  7. (astronomy) In a path near the equator, so that the declination is small, or near the horizon, so that the altitude is small; said of the heavenly bodies with reference to the diurnal revolution.
    The moon runs low, i.e. comparatively near the horizon when on or near the meridian.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

low (third-person singular simple present lows, present participle lowing, simple past and past participle lowed)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To depress; to lower.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Jonathan Swift to this entry?)

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English [Term?], from Old English hlōg, preterite of hliehhan (to laugh). More at laugh.

Verb[edit]

low

  1. obsolete simple past tense of laugh.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English lowen (to low), from Old English hlōwan (to low, bellow, roar), from Proto-Germanic *hlōaną (to call, shout), from Proto-Indo-European *kelh₁- (to call). Cognate with Dutch loeien (to low), Middle High German lüejen (to roar), dialectal Swedish lumma (to roar), Latin calō (I call), Ancient Greek καλέω (kaléō), Latin clāmō (I shout, claim). More at claim.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

low (third-person singular simple present lows, present participle lowing, simple past and past participle lowed)

  1. (intransitive) To moo.
    The cattle were lowing.
    • 1750, Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
      The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea.
    • 1868, Anthony Trollope, He Knew He Was Right XIII
      It would have been a great privilege to be the mistress of an old time-honoured mansion, to call oaks and elms her own, to know that acres of gardens were submitted to her caprices, to look at herds of cows and oxen, and be aware that they lowed on her own pastures.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 4[edit]

From Middle English lowe, loghe, from Old Norse logi (fire, flame, sword), from Proto-Germanic *lugô (flame, blaze), from Proto-Indo-European *lewk- (light). Cognate with Icelandic logi (flame), Swedish låga (flame), Danish lue (flame), German Lohe (blaze, flames), North Frisian leag (fire, flame), Old English līeġ (fire, flame, lightning). More at leye, light.

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

low (plural lows)

  1. (countable, Britain, Scotland, dialect) A flame; fire; blaze.
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

low (third-person singular simple present lows, present participle lowing, simple past and past participle lowed)

  1. (Britain, Scotland, dialect) To burn; to blaze.
    • 1785, Burns, Robert, The Jolly Beggars:
      They scarcely left to co'er their fuds, / To quench their lowan drouth.

Etymology 5[edit]

From Old English hlāw, hlǣw (burial mound), from Proto-Germanic *hlaiwaz. Obsolete by the 19th century, survives in toponymy as -low.

Pronunciation[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

low (plural lows)

  1. (archaic or obsolete) Barrow, mound, tumulus.
    • 1686, Robert Plot, The natural history of Staffordshire:
      A barrow or Low, such as were usually cast up over the bodies of eminent Captains.
  2. (Scottish dialectal, archaic) A hill.
    • 1847, Mary Howitt, Ballads and other poems:
      And some they brought the brown lint-seed, and flung it down from the Low.

Anagrams[edit]


Manx[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from English allow.

Verb[edit]

low (verbal noun lowal, past participle lowit)

  1. to allow, permit
  2. to justify

Antonyms[edit]