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 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, as in our second example sentence, to mean "completely" or "thoroughly."
"She had studding-sails out alow and aloft, with a light but steady breeze, and her captain said he could not get more than four knots out of her and thought he should have a long passage." — Richard Henry Dana, Two Years Before the Mast, 1840
"Mr. Blunt remained seated, assessed them alow and aloft and came to settle upon James, looking him right in the eye." — James Spurr, One Sloop and Slow Match, 2008
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of alow: RNIFA.VIEW THE ANSWER
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