: below
alow in the ship's hold

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Alow Has Nautical Origins

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 especially around the mastheads or the higher rigging. 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 "thoroughly."

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from a- entry 1 + low

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of alow was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near alow

Cite this Entry

“Alow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alow. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

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