Definition of alow
: below alow in the ship's hold
alow was our Word of the Day on 04/08/2017. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
In nautical use, alow means "in or to a lower part of the vessel," indicating the deck or the area of the rigging closest to the deck, or below-deck as opposed to above-deck. The opposite of "alow" in this sense is "aloft," used to indicate a higher part of the vessel. Yet, while we are still likely to encounter "aloft," in both nautical and non-nautical use, "alow" has become something of a rarity. When encountered, it is usually found in the combination "alow and aloft." This phrase literally refers to the upper and lower parts of a ship or its rigging, but it can also be used to mean "completely" or "throughout" - similar to the more familiar "high and low."
Origin and Etymology of alow
Middle English, from 1a- + low
First Known Use: 15th century
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