low

1 of 6

adjective

lower ˈlō-ər How to pronounce low (audio) ; lowest ˈlō-əst How to pronounce low (audio)
1
a
: having a small upward extension or elevation
a low wall
b
: situated or passing little above a reference line, point, or plane
low bridges
c(1)
: having a low-cut neckline
(2)
: not extending as high as the ankle
low oxfords
2
a
: situated or passing below the normal level, surface, or base of measurement, or the mean elevation
low ground
b
: marking a nadir or bottom
the low point of his career
3
a(1)
: small in number or amount
(2)
: substandard, inadequate
a low level of employment
a low income group
(3)
: cheap
low prices
(4)
: short, depleted
Oil is in low supply.
b
: of lesser degree, size, or amount than average or ordinary
low energy
c
: of lesser position, rank, or order
4
: intended to attract little attention
kept a low profile
5
: unfavorable, disparaging
had a low opinion of her
6
a
: lacking spirit or vivacity : depressed
a low frame of mind
b
: lacking strength, health, or vitality : weak, prostrate
very low with pneumonia
7
a
: being near the horizon
b
: being near the equator
low northern latitudes
8
: falling short of some standard: such as
a
: morally reprehensible : base
a low trick
b
: lacking dignity or elevation
a low style of writing
c
: coarse, vulgar
low language
9
a
: not loud : soft
b
: characterized by being toward the bottom of the range of pitch attainable (as by an instrument)
10
: socially or economically humble in character or status
a person of low birth
11
: designed for slow and usually the slowest speed
low gear
12
a
: not advanced in complexity, development, or elaboration
low organisms
b
often capitalized : low church
13
: being near the basket or net
a player in the low post
14
: dead
used as a predicate adjective with lay
laid the enemy low
15
: articulated with a wide opening between the relatively flat tongue and the palate : open
\ä\ is a low vowel.
low adverb
lowness noun

low

2 of 6

noun (1)

1
: something that is low: such as
a
: depth
a new low in advertising
b
: a region of low barometric pressure
2
: the transmission gear of an automotive vehicle giving the lowest ratio of driveshaft to crankshaft speed

low

3 of 6

verb (1)

lowed; lowing; lows

intransitive verb

: moo
In barns cows lowed to be milked.Esther Forbes

low

4 of 6

noun (2)

: the deep sustained sound characteristic especially of a cow

low

5 of 6

noun (3)

variants or lowe
chiefly Scotland

low

6 of 6

verb (2)

variants or lowe
lowed; lowing
Scotland
Choose the Right Synonym for low

base, low, vile mean deserving of contempt because of the absence of higher values.

base stresses the ignoble and may suggest cruelty, treachery, greed, or grossness.

base motives

low may connote crafty cunning, vulgarity, or immorality and regularly implies an outraging of one's sense of decency or propriety.

refused to listen to such low talk

vile, the strongest of these words, tends to suggest disgusting depravity or filth.

a vile remark

Example Sentences

Adjective The apartment has low ceilings. They have a home in the low country. The houses are built on low ground. temperatures as low as 10 below zero He's being treated for low blood pressure. a low dose of medicine She earns a low salary. Demand for his books has remained low. Temperatures were in the low eighties. Our supply of fuel is getting low. See More

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English lah, low, from Old Norse lāgr; akin to Middle High German læge low, flat; probably akin to Old English licgan to lie

Verb (1) and Noun (2)

Middle English loowen, lowen, going back to Old English hlōwan, going back to Germanic *hlōan- (whence also Old Saxon hlōinga "mooing," Old Low Franconian luon, luogin "to moo, bellow," Old High German luoen), going back to Indo-European *kloh1-, presumed o-grade derivative of a verbal base *kleh1-, *kl̥h1- "call," whence also Germanic *halōn-, *hulōn- "to summon" (whence Old English geholian "to obtain, get," Old Saxon halon, haloian "to fetch, get, bring," Old High German halōn, holōn "to fetch, send for, summon"), Latin calāre "to announce, summon," Umbrian kařetu "(he must) call," Greek kaléō, kaleîn "to call, summon," and perhaps Hittite kalliš- "entice, elicit, evoke"

Note: Old English hlōwan is taken to be a Class VII strong verb (as grōwan "to grow," blōwan "to bloom, blow entry 3"), despite the lack of attested forms outside the present tense. The a vocalism of the Greek and Italic forms is variously explained. The suggestion that the base is *kalh1-, with a primary -a-, eliminates some of the difficulties.

Noun (3)

Middle English, from Old Norse logi, log; akin to Old English lēoht light — more at light

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

circa 1522, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near low

Cite this Entry

“Low.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/low. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

low

1 of 3 noun
: the deep sound of a cow
low verb

low

2 of 3 adjective
ˈlō
lower
ˈlō(-ə)r
; lowest
ˈlō-əst
1
a
: not high or tall
a low wall
a low bridge
b
: cut far down at the neck
c
: not extending as high as the ankle
2
a
: placed or passing below the normal level
low ground
b
: marking a bottom
a low point of his career
3
4
a
: not loud : soft
a low whisper
b
: deep in pitch
a low note
5
a
: being near the equator
low northern latitudes
b
: being near the horizon
the sun is low
6
7
a
: feeble sense 1, weak
low with fever
b
: not cheerful or lively
in low spirits
8
: less than usual (as in number, amount, degree, or rank)
a low price
low pressure
9
a
: lacking dignity
a low style of writing
b
: morally deserving of criticism : base
a low trick
c
: coarse sense 5, vulgar
low language
10
: being less complex in structure and development than others
low animals
11
: not favorable
a low opinion of their work
low adverb
lowness noun

low

3 of 3 noun
1
: something low
especially : a region of low barometric pressure
2
: the arrangement of gears in an automobile that gives the lowest speed of travel

Medical Definition

low

adjective
lower ˈlō(-ə)r How to pronounce low (audio) ; lowest ˈlō-əst How to pronounce low (audio)
: having a relatively less complex organization : not greatly differentiated or developed phylogenetically
usually used in the comparative degree of less advanced types of plants and animals
the lower vertebrates
compare high sense 1

Biographical Definition

Low

biographical name

Sir David Alexander Cecil 1891–1963 British cartoonist

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