Definition of below in English:

below

preposition

  • 1At a lower level or layer than.

    ‘just below the pocket was a stain’
    ‘the blistered skin below his collar’
    • ‘The Taklamakan desert oasis of Turpan, at 154 metres below sea level, is the second lowest point in the world.’
    • ‘Surrounded by water on all sides, the edifice is 11 stories high but also goes 18 metres below sea level.’
    • ‘As we were driving through Calcutta, my friend pointed to a little shrine to a god embedded in a wall just below waist level.’
    • ‘There is barely any discernible sensation of the blade below skin level.’
    • ‘Robb also had three stars and a pennant defining his rank painted below the windscreen.’
    • ‘A deep cut could penetrate to the fatty layer below the skin.’
    • ‘In the long run, the New Orleans area has a particular challenge, because much of the city lies below sea level.’
    • ‘The next layer is wired to the layer below it, and the process is repeated.’
    • ‘The ground floor, which would be partially set below pavement level, would accommodate two single bedroom residential units.’
    • ‘Malingerer's arm was low, but it never fell below shoulder level.’
    • ‘Sections of the original façade were missing and the original entrance to the house was buried below street level.’
    • ‘Wendy recalls the excitement of going with her mother and aunt to a tearoom below street level and having an ice cream sundae and a fizzy drink.’
    • ‘One of the exhibits consisted simply of a couple of Post-It notes stuck to each other, hanging from the ceiling by a thread, a little bit below eye level.’
    1. 1.1 Lower in grade or rank than.
      ‘the aristocracy rank below the monarchy’
      ‘they rated the company's financial soundness below its competitor's’
      • ‘The difficulty both for contemporaries and for historians has been to find a term suitable for describing landowners below the ranks of the gentry.’
      • ‘That which transpired last midweek was probably the heaviest loss Scotland have suffered against a team ranked below them.’
      • ‘Too many are doing work which is at least a grade below their skills.’
      • ‘I have a hard time accepting that we rank below Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia and Slovakia.’
      • ‘I remember looking up to see a small girl in a grade below me laughing behind her hand.’
      • ‘In the Hebrew Bible nonhuman animals are generally ranked below the humans with whom they share the earth.’
      • ‘Well, if an officer of your rank, with clout and a good deal of power and influence does not speak out, do you honestly expect that others below your rank would?’
      • ‘Italy ranks below Botswana, while Namibia scores equal with Greece.’
      • ‘Our ratings in those markets are below that of our competitors.’
      • ‘His certificate ranks immediately below the MBE, and he is the first member of a combined cadet force to receive the accolade.’
      • ‘Apollyon was his Second Lieutenant, ranking below only Lady Alysia and the Prince himself.’
      • ‘Payson is confident Oxford's raises are still below those of its competitors.’
      • ‘Megan was Sara and Callie's close friend, even though she was a grade below the senior girls.’
      • ‘Health care and more affordable childcare places rank below tax cuts in current macho political cultures.’
      • ‘The term was used from around the mid-eighteenth century to describe those people below the aristocracy but above the workers.’
      • ‘This is why the media in this country rank below mad cow disease in terms of voter approval.’
      • ‘For me, bathing suit shopping is an annual occurrence that ranks slightly below a trip to the dentist.’
      • ‘50 years ago: The Spa at Scarborough had banned members of the Army below the rank of sergeant.’
      • ‘However, that would still be well below its original financial forecast, he noted.’
      • ‘He loved the fear in the women's faces and voices; he reveled in the fear of those who ranked below him.’
      lower than, under, inferior to, subordinate to, secondary to, subservient to
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Lower than (a specified amount or standard)
      ‘pupils of below average ability’
      ‘below freezing’
      ‘below 50 mph’
      • ‘This year's increase of 4.8 per cent falls well below the average of 5.9 per cent.’
      • ‘The RUH Trust however denied liability and claimed her treatment did not fall below an acceptable clinical standard.’
      • ‘His memory deteriorated and his schoolwork fell below standard.’
      • ‘Similarly, the logging, refrigerated, and line haul drivers all reported below average amounts of sleep.’
      • ‘Based upon the research approximately 10 percent of the population fell below this amount.’
      • ‘There are countless examples of conduct by high profile sports stars that fall well below community standards.’
      • ‘The cost of travel to and from a job would lower most wages below the level of unemployment benefit.’
      • ‘Negligence is defined by expert testimony as medical practice that falls below the standard of care.’
      • ‘Your magazine rarely falls below standards of excellence.’
      • ‘If the value of your account falls below a minimum, it could cost you.’
      • ‘If their behaviour falls below acceptable standards they will be prosecuted.’
      • ‘Ensure that whatever you do never falls below the standard of your abilities and goals.’
      • ‘Ratio IQs were calculated for the Bayley because scores in the manual do not extend below 50.’
      • ‘But the report said teaching was poor, academic achievement was well below average and disruptive pupils were out of control.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the technical achievements of the film fall far below the standard set for the feature.’
      • ‘He said staffing levels were 20% below the level required to provide a basic service.’
      • ‘But they highlighted the need for more rigor in improving standards, which are below average.’
      • ‘This includes lowering the annual level of inflation to below 5 per cent.’
      • ‘Samples tested for dioxins and furans showed concentrations at or below those expected under normal circumstances.’
      • ‘There will be some years when shares may perform well and other times when they could fall below the long-term average.’
      less than, lower than, under, not as much as, not so much as, smaller than
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  • 2Extending underneath.

    ‘the tunnel below the crags’
    ‘cables running below the floorboards’
    • ‘They extend both above and below the waistline, are wider in the center and taper to points at both ends.’
    • ‘There is adequate storage below the berths although hanging locker space is limited and there is no wet locker.’
    • ‘Tunnels and caverns deep below the snowy-white building were the safest place for storing valuables.’
    • ‘Drilled piles were used to extend the load below the expanse of surface soil.’
    • ‘The acromion is hook-like and extends below the glenoid as in modern mammals.’
    • ‘If the canker extends below the soil line, the entire vine must be removed.’
    • ‘Rights in possession can extend both below the surface of the land and to the airspace above it.’
    • ‘I had found an exit to the underground facility which led through a tunnel and ended below a janitor's closet.’
    • ‘Obvious examples are the excavation of building foundation and tunnels that extend below the water-table.’
    • ‘His target now was the doorway two floors below, straight underneath where he stood.’
    • ‘During the First World War 12,000 Allied soldiers sweated and tunnelled below the town.’
    • ‘The team found large hot bubbles extending above and below a disk of gas along the equator of the galaxy.’
    • ‘Memmel's cast, which had extended to just below her knee, was removed, but she is still on crutches.’
    • ‘He states that to perform properly, the gas check cannot extend below the neck of a cartridge case.’
    • ‘Males and females look the same, with white chins extending up just below the eyes and gray-brown caps.’
    • ‘She looked down toward the ground and noticed a tree branch that extended out below her window.’
    • ‘Most older houses will have a crawl space below the boards.’
    • ‘Cars would be banished to long tunnels running beneath the complex, and lorries and trucks to an even deeper tunnel network below them.’
    • ‘Standing, I shuffled into the kitchen and peered into the space below the sink.’
    • ‘Catwalks extended across the open spaces below me which were filled with machinery of different kinds.’
    beneath, under, underneath, further down than, lower than
    View synonyms

adverb

  • 1At a lower level or layer.

    ‘he jumped from the window into the moat below’
    • ‘It fell a few feet below us, then came zooming back up straight at me.’
    • ‘He fell past the tree and onto the ground below.’
    • ‘And one, two three....the young giant leapt into the Sea below.’
    • ‘So he jumped below and spread the chart of Mag Bay out on the table and yelled soundings and direction to me.’
    • ‘If you slip, you go tumbling over the roof into the expanse below.’
    further down, lower down, in a lower position, underneath, beneath, downstairs
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (in printed text) mentioned further down on the same page, or further on in the text.
      ‘our nutritionist is pictured below right’
      • ‘As will be presented below, this same level of analysis can be applied to other stay/leave models.’
      • ‘By filling out the form below and then submitting it, you can report any injury or death involving consumer products to us, or report an unsafe product to us.’
      • ‘These analyses will be elaborated below and subsequently defended against various alternative analyses.’
      • ‘But there are, of course, other tests, apart from the one adopted below and apart from the one that we pressed for.’
      • ‘The tables below rank the retailers in order of the quickest to respond and the friendliest reps.’
      • ‘Check out the sales ranks of the books below - this is a pretty good indication of how much we care about this problem.’
      • ‘Examine the vignettes below and then read the discussion that follows.’
      • ‘You have the option of clicking on the subjects below or simply reading the interview from the beginning.’
      • ‘The table below gives the final rank for India in the Women's World Cup.’
      • ‘This can be combined with the suit ranking variation described below.’
      • ‘Check out the simple virtual reality example below and then try one of the sites listed at the bottom of the page.’
      • ‘This drops down parallel to another pitch described below and eventually the two merge.’
      underneath, following, further on, at a later point, in a later place, at the bottom, at the end
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Nautical Below deck.
      ‘I'll go below and fix us a drink’
      • ‘I went below to rest, because I would be on watch later.’
      • ‘We did not think it very serious so went below again cursing the iceberg for disturbing us.’
      • ‘Despite the excitement of my first sea voyage, I was asleep almost as soon as we went below to the cabin which I shared with my baby brother Charles, just seven months old.’
      • ‘Eight o’clock came, and the watch went below, and, for the whole of the first hour, the ship was tearing on, with studding-sails out, alow and aloft, and the night as dark as a pocket.’
      • ‘The wind at the time the captain went below was blowing a fresh breeze from east-north-east, with a heavy sea, which increased to a violent gale; he was, however, not called until 2 o'clock.’

Phrases

  • below (the) ground

    • Beneath the surface of the ground.

      ‘60 feet below ground’
      • ‘It spanned hundreds of miles and was over 30 feet below the ground in some places, keeping them safe from the constant barrages from the American planes.’
      • ‘To test this controversial theory he supervised a drilling project in Sweden and found clear evidence for life far below the ground beneath solid granite.’
      • ‘My dad was working in a goldmine 1,200 feet below the ground.’
      • ‘Geopathic Stress is mainly caused by narrow paths of water about 200/300 feet below ground.’
      • ‘It's also quite strange that as almost all the damage is below ground, there is nothing to see on the surface that might disturb you.’
      • ‘Working off the ground, below the ground, or with powerful tools and equipment is dangerous work.’
      • ‘The floor was about 4.5 feet below ground and shards of pottery and flint were found, which will be given to the National Museum.’
      • ‘Cicadas live all but their last days feeding on the sap of tree roots located a few inches to a couple of feet below ground.’
      • ‘It may not be a great place to work but it beats digging coal 300 feet below ground.’
      • ‘Their train stopped in a tunnel just before the station, where the line is 400 feet below ground.’
      • ‘Now the sand lies hundreds of feet thick below the ground.’
      • ‘Even though most of the company's network relies on cables buried several feet below the ground, it is not uncommon to have those cables exposed and slashed by flooding and debris, she added.’
      • ‘The finished museum, with five storeys above ground and one storey below ground, will resemble a huge ship.’
      • ‘This property-imaging process will help us to look for anything that may be buried below ground.’
      • ‘Who would have thought the only dry place in that part of the city would be 50 feet below ground.’
      • ‘The miners worked in 100-degree temperatures, 1,000 feet below the ground, in a space they couldn't really stand up in.’
      • ‘Yes, in fact here in Perth they already drain it straight into what we call the aquifer which is where the ground water is situated below ground.’
      • ‘The mines often lie sixty or so feet below the ground.’
      • ‘The map showed that the facility had five floors, extending some sixty feet below ground.’
      • ‘Four means of disposal, surface storage, storage just below ground and two versions of deep subterranean storage, are being considered.’
      subterranean, subterrestrial, below ground, buried, sunken, lower-level, basement
      below ground, below the surface, under the earth, in the earth
      View synonyms
  • below stairs

    • dated In the basement of a house as occupied by servants.

      • ‘Life below stairs is just as complicated as life above.’
      • ‘Stately piles, where below stairs was once strictly out of bounds, are busily restoring their kitchens and servants' quarters to allow us to see how ‘ordinary’ life was lived in centuries past.’
      • ‘The Princess visited the stately home to open its new exhibition tracing the lives of lifestyles of former staff - and she revealed that she had spent time below stairs on childhood visits to the house.’
      • ‘It's a fascinating story of life below stairs at Buckingham Palace.’
      • ‘Servants is a bold and irreverent drama series set below stairs in a country house in 1850s England.’
      • ‘With an obedient nod, she turned for the door that led to the servants' quarters, below stairs.’
      • ‘And this collection shows them to be a fascinating glimpse of the hidden world below stairs, and class and power relationships.’
      • ‘He strode out of the room and finished dressing in the hallway before going below stairs to find the innkeeper's wife.’
      • ‘After a protest he was later moved to a sweeter smelling room, although still below stairs.’
      • ‘Servants, a new drama series set below stairs in an English country house in the 1850s, starts filming for BBC ONE’
      • ‘And this is less than half the cast, because half the action takes place below stairs, where the servants live.’
      • ‘It was a serious house with a beautiful grey salon, but I was well below stairs with no carpet, just stone floors.’
      • ‘As if waiting for them to say something, there was a blast from below stairs.’
      • ‘She was known below stairs as ‘Lady Jane’; a social-climber whose devotion to her Duchess, and mock-Royal mannerisms, amused and disturbed her colleagues in equal measure.’
      • ‘From the seven bedrooms on the first floor, to the nine reception rooms on the ground floor, to the staff quarters below stairs, the apartment is the epitome of elegance.’
      • ‘In so doing, he heard the street gossip, upstairs as well as below stairs.’
      • ‘The exhibition explores life above and below stairs, examining the role of women as decision makers raising dynasties and workhorses in service.’
      • ‘Historically, the right harboured desires to keep the white working class below stairs.’
      • ‘Later I realised it was because I didn't fit in; above or below stairs.’
      • ‘As well as in nurseries, it is likely that Black Beauty was distributed lavishly below stairs - as were tracts and ‘improving’ moral tales designed to reconcile Victorian servants to their lot.’

Origin

Late Middle English (as an adverb): from be- ‘by’ + the adjective low. Not common until the 16th century, the word developed a prepositional use and was frequent in Shakespeare.

Pronunciation

below

/bɪˈləʊ/