low·​ly | \ ˈlō-lē How to pronounce lowly (audio) \

Definition of lowly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : in a humble or meek manner
2 : in a low position, manner, or degree
3 : not loudly


lowlier; lowliest

Definition of lowly (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : humble in manner or spirit : free from self-assertive pride
2 : not lofty or sublime : prosaic
3 : ranking low in some hierarchy
4 : of or relating to a low social or economic rank
5 : low in the scale of biological or cultural evolution

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Other Words from lowly


lowliness noun

Examples of lowly in a Sentence


lowly bowing before his king, he accepted his knighthood


He was working as a lowly clerk. He resented his lowly status.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Car makers in general are lowly valued because investors assume their profits will disappear in the next downturn. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "GM Has Overtaken Ford but Investors Haven’t Noticed," 27 Nov. 2018 And higher funding costs haven’t been matched by earnings growth for more lowly rated borrowers. Paul J. Davies, WSJ, "Shorting Loans: A Hedge Against Financial Trouble," 30 Aug. 2018 Wiggins, 31, appeared in court in orange prison scrubs, flip-flops and handcuffs, speaking lowly and showing little emotion. Washington Post, "Suspect accused of burning deputy’s body after killing him," 8 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That lowly space in every building where residents grab their bills and catalogs is in transition, writes the Journal’s Candace Taylor, as some real-estate developments in New York, Florida and California turn it into an attractive gathering spot. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The 10-Point.," 8 June 2018 His average driving distance of 280 yards puts him in lowly 169th place, below the Tour average of 285 yards. Harry Hurt, Town & Country, "T&C Profile: Luke Donald," 8 Apr. 2014 Computer operators, programmers, and even the lowly punchers, whose data-entry work had been seen as unimportant, were recognized as crucial after the strikes. Marie Hicks, The Verge, "The long history behind the Google Walkout," 9 Nov. 2018 Before the new tax hikes were enacted, the American Legislative Exchange Council and economist Art Laffer had already ranked New Jersey a lowly 46th among the 50 states on economic competitiveness. James Freeman, WSJ, "Serving Spartacus," 24 Oct. 2018 Detroit committed five turnovers and fell 48-17 to the lowly New York Jets at home (despite finishing with just 10 fewer total yards). Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Five things to know about the Seahawks’ next opponent, the Detroit Lions," 23 Oct. 2018 But Martha is black (and female), which limits her own undercover identity options to that of a lowly maid in the school, scrubbing floors despite her medical degree. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New Doctor Who trailer shows first female Doctor is still the boss," 20 Sep. 2018 The 6ft 2in full-back played a starring role in lowly Bologna's Serie A campaign - registering 35 appearances in all competitions for the Rossoblu. SI.com, "Watford Close in on First Summer Transfer for £8.75m Bologna Left-Back Adam Masina," 3 June 2018 After the first season in charge Wolves sat in a lowly fifteenth place. SI.com, "How Jeff Shi and Fosun International Transformed Wolverhampton Wanderers Into a Premier League Side," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lowly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lowly


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for lowly

The first known use of lowly was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for lowly



English Language Learners Definition of lowly

: low in rank, position, or importance


\ ˈlō-lē How to pronounce lowly (audio) \
lowlier; lowliest

Kids Definition of lowly

: of low rank or importance: humble a lowly servant

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More from Merriam-Webster on lowly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lowly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lowly

Spanish Central: Translation of lowly

Nglish: Translation of lowly for Spanish Speakers

Comments on lowly

What made you want to look up lowly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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