down

1 of 8

adverb

1
a(1)
: toward or in a lower physical position
Don't look down.
Pull down the blind.
(2)
: to a lying or sitting position
Please sit down.
(3)
: toward or to the ground, floor, or bottom
burned the house down
fell down
b
: as a down payment
paid $10 down
c
: on paper
put down what he says
2
: in a direction that is the opposite of up: such as
a
: southward
traveled down to South Africa
b
: to or toward a point away from the speaker or the speaker's point of reference
walked down to my neighbor's house
c
: in or into the stomach
can't keep food down
3
: to a lesser degree, level, or rate
cool down tensions
Try to calm down.
4
: to or toward a lower position in a series
seems to be far down on their agenda
moved down in the pop charts
5
a
: to or in a lower or worse condition or status
students held down by a lack of social support
b
used to indicate thoroughness or completion
dusted down the house
described him down to his haircut
6
: from a past time
stories passed down by word of mouth
7
: to or in a state of less activity or prominence
scaled down our plans
8
: to a concentrated state
got the report down to three pages
9
: into defeat
voted the motion down

down

2 of 8

preposition

: down (see down entry 1) along, around, through, toward, in, into, or on
fell down the stairs
write down the phone number
down the years
grew up down the block from each other
pacing up and down the room

down

3 of 8

verb

downed; downing; downs

transitive verb

1
: to cause to go or come down (see down entry 1) : such as
a
: to cause to fall by or as if by shooting : bring down sense 1
downed the enemy helicopter
b
: consume sense 3
downing slices of pizza
2
football : to cause (a ball) to be out of play
downed the ball at the five-yard line
3
: defeat
down a proposal

intransitive verb

: to go down

down

4 of 8

adjective

1
a(1)
: occupying a low position
specifically : lying on the ground
down timber
(2)
: directed or going downward
attendance is down
b
: lower in price
c
football : not being in play because of wholly stopped progress or because the officials stop the play
The ball was down.
d
: defeated or trailing an opponent (as in points scored)
down by two runs
e
baseball : out
two down in the top of the third inning
2
a
: reduced or low in activity, frequency, or intensity
a down economy
b
: not operating or able to function
The computer is down.
c
: depressed, dejected
feeling a bit down
also : depressing
a down movie
d
: sick
down with flu
3
: done, finished
eight down and two to go
4
: completely mastered
had her lines down
often used with pat
got the answers down pat
5
a
slang : cool sense 7
a down dude
b
slang : understanding or supportive of something or someone
usually used with with
trying to prove that they were down with hip-hop cultureJ. E. White
6
: being on record
you're down for two tickets

down

5 of 8

noun (1)

1
: descent, depression
emotional ups and downs
the ups and downs of the business cycle
2
: an instance of putting down someone (such as an opponent in wrestling)
3
football
a
: a complete play to advance the ball
b
: one of a series of four attempts in American football or three attempts in Canadian football to advance the ball 10 yards
caught the ball on third down
4
chiefly British : dislike, grudge
5
: downer
6
physics : a fundamental quark that has an electric charge of -¹/₃ and that is one of the constituents of a nucleon

down

6 of 8

noun (2)

1
: an undulating usually treeless upland with sparse soil
usually used in plural
sheep grazing on the grassy downs
2
often capitalized : a sheep of any breed originating in the downs of southern England

down

7 of 8

noun (3)

1
: a covering of soft fluffy feathers
also : these feathers
goose down pillows
2
: something soft and fluffy like down
a trace of down on his cheeks

Down

8 of 8

noun (4)

: down syndrome
usually used attributively
a Down baby
Phrases
down to the ground
: perfectly, completely
that suits me down to the ground
down on
: having a low opinion of or dislike for
The coach has been down on him lately.
down on one's luck
: experiencing misfortune and especially financial distress

Examples of down in a Sentence

Adverb The land slopes down to the sea. She called down to her friends in the street below. They set the cake down on the table. Lay down your book for a minute. We watched the sun go down. We keep our wine collection down in the basement. What's going on down there? He fell down and hurt his knee. Climb down out of that tree! He knocked him down with one punch. Preposition Sweat dripped down her neck. The children ran down the hill. She fell down the stairs. He climbed down the ladder. He spilled mustard down the front of his shirt. Her hair hung loosely down her back. Go down the road and turn left. We grew up down the block from each other. The bathroom is halfway down the hall on the right. His pitches were right down the middle of the plate. Verb The storm downed power lines throughout the city. a large number of downed power lines They were downing beers and watching the game on TV. The quarterback downed the ball to stop the clock. Adjective The window shades were down. The candy is down on the bottom shelf. There was a pile of dirty clothes down on the floor. She took the down escalator. These changes should help keep prices down. Stocks are down again today. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adverb
There are some divisive changes to debate, but for me the good outweighs any issues as deep down Rebirth does enhance the tone and mood of the original game. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 The largest decline came among women (down 14.5%), according to the report. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2024 That’s down $5 from a year ago and $46 below the high in August 2022, according to Realtor.com. Anna Bahney, CNN, 22 Feb. 2024 In July, the average time was 3 minutes, 56 seconds — down from 4 minutes, 21 seconds in July 2022. John Aguilar, The Mercury News, 22 Feb. 2024 This summer, the federal agency will start capping payments for undergraduate loans to 5% -- down from 10% -- of income above the 225% federal poverty threshold. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 22 Feb. 2024 The national brokerage and research firm Redfin found Blacks make up 44% of all homeowners, down from 47% in 2012; Hispanics 51%, down from 55.4%; Asians 58.1%, down from 65.7%; and whites 62.9%, from 67.6%. Rebecca San Juan, Miami Herald, 21 Feb. 2024 On the other side, Steve DeAngelo of Harborside, who runs two large Bay Area dispensaries and one of the biggest cultivation sites in the state, has argued that larger grows will keep costs down, a necessity with prices already going up due to taxes and other costs associated with legalization. Brad Branan, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024 Don’t miss the island’s national dish, oil down, a hearty bowl of stewed meats and provisions that can cure any hangover. Kristin Braswell, Travel + Leisure, 10 Feb. 2024
Preposition
Early detection allows for prompt treatment, slowing down the progression of this debilitating condition. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 While agave likes drier, hotter, poorer soils than avocados, growers are still cutting down native scrub and low, thorny woods to plant the spikey-leafed seedlings, whose barrel-like centers will later be cooked down and fermented. Mark Stevenson, Fortune, 11 Feb. 2024 That behavioral change drove down on-premise revenues. Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 11 Feb. 2024 In the event of your vehicle hydroplaning, here’s what to know: • Ease off the accelerator — Step off the gas to slow down the vehicle until the tires find traction. Star-Telegram Bot, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 11 Feb. 2024 Often, checking down is labeled by analysts as a last-ditch option, or one that is less desirable. Jesse Newell, Kansas City Star, 11 Feb. 2024 Lawmakers are racing to beat fast-approaching government shutdown deadlines in March, but deep policy divisions may slow them down on everything from passenger rail funding to Internal Revenue Service resources to support for the World Health Organization. Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, 11 Feb. 2024 The Cadillac continued to spin down the highway to a stop in the inside lane. David J. Neal, Miami Herald, 11 Feb. 2024 Bringing sourdough to Doral The aroma of the bread wafted out of the store, down the hallways, around the neighboring houses and brought unexpected knocks on their door. Carlos Frías, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024
Verb
Townsend finished with a net average of 50.8 with two downed inside the 20. Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star, 12 Feb. 2024 As few as 2% of California homeowners have flood insurance, which also includes damages from mudslides and downed trees. Chris Morris, Fortune, 6 Feb. 2024 Flying debris, downed trees and loss of power were the highlight of South Florida’s stormy weather this weekend. Omar Rodríguez Ortiz, Miami Herald, 5 Feb. 2024 Our protagonist downs another shot, shakes her shiny blonde hair loose and walks right up to him. Lyric Li, Washington Post, 4 Feb. 2024 Heavy snowfall is expected for the mountains, Schoening said, and gusts are expected to down trees and power lines. Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Los Angeles Times, 4 Feb. 2024 Speaking after Wednesday’s prisoner exchange, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the IL-76 plane had been downed by a US Patriot missile system. Anna Chernova, CNN, 31 Jan. 2024 The Lions botched downing a punt at the 1-yard line, leading to a touchback. Josh Dubow, Chicago Tribune, 29 Jan. 2024 San Francisco's win sets up a rematch of 2020's Super Bowl LIV, when the Chiefs downed 49ers 31-20. Jordan Freiman, CBS News, 28 Jan. 2024
Adjective
Having empathy for a client during a down period can go a long way. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 Not to be overlooked is 18-time City champion El Camino Real, which considered 2023 a down year despite reaching the Open semifinals. Steve Galluzzo, Los Angeles Times, 11 Feb. 2024 The down filling is lofty and soft, tucked inside a water and wind-repellent shell. Cai Cramer, Peoplemag, 11 Feb. 2024 The Usher Crew sweatshirt has similar imagery, with stadium lights, a helmet, a football, and an orange down indicator all taking a spot on the front of the piece. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 8 Feb. 2024 As for those awards, especially all the down ballot ones handed out before the start of the telecast, there were notable double wins for Jason Isbell (Best American Roots Song and Best Americana Album), Chris Stapleton (Best Country Song and Solo Performance), and Fred Again.. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 5 Feb. 2024 But Kelce was marked just short on a third down catch, and Pacheco was stopped on the ensuing fourth down at the 13. Noah Trister, Chicago Tribune, 28 Jan. 2024 Stock market surges into 2024, shrugging off recession fears The skyrocketing values of Big Tech stocks followed a down year for the industry in 2022. Eli Tan, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2024 Luckily, the down alternative duo can fill the void without breaking the bank, and its polyester fill is resistant to flattening. Wendy Vazquez, Southern Living, 18 Jan. 2024
Noun
For more on Usher's past ups and downs, triumphant Super Bowl moment and happy life now with wife Jenn Goicoechea, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, out Friday. Emily Strohm, Peoplemag, 14 Feb. 2024 Running an arts festival in Miami always has its ups and downs, Trainer said. Amanda Rosa, Miami Herald, 14 Feb. 2024 Investors appear to be more unsure of the Fed’s next moves than in the stock market’s ups and downs. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 13 Feb. 2024 Seems like after that there were a lot of ups and downs. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 7 Feb. 2024 The daytime co-host, 46, appeared on the Behind the Table podcast on Monday to talk with executive producer Brian Teta about the ups and downs of her career in daytime television. Dave Quinn, Peoplemag, 31 Jan. 2024 Guidance for finding value in life’s ups and downs. 9 HIDDEN POTENTIAL (Viking, $32). Becky Meloan, Washington Post, 31 Jan. 2024 For Gladstone, 37, the job has had its ups and downs. Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times, 30 Jan. 2024 Women in particular go through ups and downs because of the changes in their hormones or life stages. Billboard Japan, Billboard, 30 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'down.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adverb, Preposition, Verb, Adjective, and Noun (1)

Middle English doun, from Old English dūne, short for adūne, of dūne, from a- (from of), of off, from + dūne, dative of dūn hill

Noun (2)

Middle English doun hill, from Old English dūn — see down entry 1

Noun (3)

Middle English doun, from Old Norse dūnn

First Known Use

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Preposition

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

circa 1586, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Noun (1)

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (4)

1987, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of down was before the 12th century

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near down

Cite this Entry

“Down.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/down. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

down

1 of 7 noun
: a rolling grassy upland
usually used in plural

down

2 of 7 adverb
1
a
: toward or in a lower position
b
: to a lying or sitting position
c
: toward or to the ground, floor, or bottom
2
: as a down payment
paid $10 down
3
: in a direction opposite to up
add the numbers across and down
4
: to or in a lower or worse condition
held down by a bad economy
5
: from a past time
heirlooms that have been handed down
6
: to or in a state of less activity
excitement died down

down

3 of 7 adjective
1
a
: being in a low position
especially : lying on the ground
b
: directed or going downward
a down escalator
c
: being at a lower level
sales are down
2
a
: low in spirits : sad
feeling a bit down
b
: sick sense 1a
down with flu
3
: being finished or come to an end
eight down and two to go

down

4 of 7 preposition
: down along : down through : down toward : down in : down into : down on
down the road

down

5 of 7 noun
1
: a low or falling period
the ups and downs of life
2
: one of a series of four plays that a football team gets to advance the ball ten yards

down

6 of 7 verb
1
: to go or cause to go or come down
2
3
: to cause (a football) to be out of play

down

7 of 7 noun
1
: a covering of soft fluffy feathers
2
: something soft and fluffy like down
Etymology

Noun

Old English dūn "hill"

Adverb

Old English dūne "down," shortened from adūne, literally, "off the hill," from a- "off" and dūne, form of dūn "hill"

Noun

Middle English doun "down, feathers"; of Norse origin

Geographical Definition

Down

geographical name

1
district of southeastern Northern Ireland bordering the Irish Sea; established 1974 area 250 square miles (650 square kilometers), population 69,750
2
traditional county of southeastern Northern Ireland

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