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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There is barely any discernible sensation of the blade below skin level.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Surrounded by water on all sides, the edifice is 11 stories high but also goes 18 metres below sea level.’
    • ‘The ground floor, which would be partially set below pavement level, would accommodate two single bedroom residential units.’
    • ‘Sections of the original façade were missing and the original entrance to the house was buried below street level.’
    • ‘Robb also had three stars and a pennant defining his rank painted below the windscreen.’
    • ‘The Taklamakan desert oasis of Turpan, at 154 metres below sea level, is the second lowest point in the world.’
    • ‘As we were driving through Calcutta, my friend pointed to a little shrine to a god embedded in a wall just below waist level.’
    • ‘The next layer is wired to the layer below it, and the process is repeated.’
    • ‘Malingerer's arm was low, but it never fell below shoulder 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.’
    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’
      • ‘I remember looking up to see a small girl in a grade below me laughing behind her hand.’
      • ‘However, that would still be well below its original financial forecast, he noted.’
      • ‘The difficulty both for contemporaries and for historians has been to find a term suitable for describing landowners below the ranks of the gentry.’
      • ‘He loved the fear in the women's faces and voices; he reveled in the fear of those who ranked below him.’
      • ‘Megan was Sara and Callie's close friend, even though she was a grade below the senior girls.’
      • ‘I have a hard time accepting that we rank below Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia and Slovakia.’
      • ‘That which transpired last midweek was probably the heaviest loss Scotland have suffered against a team ranked below them.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘The term was used from around the mid-eighteenth century to describe those people below the aristocracy but above the workers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Too many are doing work which is at least a grade below their skills.’
      • ‘Our ratings in those markets are below that of our competitors.’
      • ‘In the Hebrew Bible nonhuman animals are generally ranked below the humans with whom they share the earth.’
      • ‘This is why the media in this country rank below mad cow disease in terms of voter approval.’
      • ‘Health care and more affordable childcare places rank below tax cuts in current macho political cultures.’
      • ‘Italy ranks below Botswana, while Namibia scores equal with Greece.’
      • ‘Apollyon was his Second Lieutenant, ranking below only Lady Alysia and the Prince himself.’
      • ‘His certificate ranks immediately below the MBE, and he is the first member of a combined cadet force to receive the accolade.’
      • ‘Payson is confident Oxford's raises are still below those of its competitors.’
      lower than, under, inferior to, subordinate to, secondary to, subservient to
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    2. 1.2 Lower than (a specified amount or standard):
      ‘pupils of below average ability’
      ‘below freezing’
      ‘below 50 mph’
      • ‘But the report said teaching was poor, academic achievement was well below average and disruptive pupils were out of control.’
      • ‘Your magazine rarely falls below standards of excellence.’
      • ‘Based upon the research approximately 10 percent of the population fell below this amount.’
      • ‘This includes lowering the annual level of inflation to below 5 per cent.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the technical achievements of the film fall far below the standard set for the feature.’
      • ‘If their behaviour falls below acceptable standards they will be prosecuted.’
      • ‘Samples tested for dioxins and furans showed concentrations at or below those expected under normal circumstances.’
      • ‘He said staffing levels were 20% below the level required to provide a basic service.’
      • ‘Negligence is defined by expert testimony as medical practice that falls below the standard of care.’
      • ‘There are countless examples of conduct by high profile sports stars that fall well below community standards.’
      • ‘This year's increase of 4.8 per cent falls well below the average of 5.9 per cent.’
      • ‘Ensure that whatever you do never falls below the standard of your abilities and goals.’
      • ‘His memory deteriorated and his schoolwork fell below standard.’
      • ‘If the value of your account falls below a minimum, it could cost you.’
      • ‘Ratio IQs were calculated for the Bayley because scores in the manual do not extend below 50.’
      • ‘But they highlighted the need for more rigor in improving standards, which are below average.’
      • ‘Similarly, the logging, refrigerated, and line haul drivers all reported below average amounts of sleep.’
      • ‘The cost of travel to and from a job would lower most wages below the level of unemployment benefit.’
      • ‘The RUH Trust however denied liability and claimed her treatment did not fall below an acceptable clinical standard.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘During the First World War 12,000 Allied soldiers sweated and tunnelled below the town.’
    • ‘I had found an exit to the underground facility which led through a tunnel and ended below a janitor's closet.’
    • ‘Memmel's cast, which had extended to just below her knee, was removed, but she is still on crutches.’
    • ‘His target now was the doorway two floors below, straight underneath where he stood.’
    • ‘The acromion is hook-like and extends below the glenoid as in modern mammals.’
    • ‘Rights in possession can extend both below the surface of the land and to the airspace above it.’
    • ‘Males and females look the same, with white chins extending up just below the eyes and gray-brown caps.’
    • ‘He states that to perform properly, the gas check cannot extend below the neck of a cartridge case.’
    • ‘Most older houses will have a crawl space below the boards.’
    • ‘Tunnels and caverns deep below the snowy-white building were the safest place for storing valuables.’
    • ‘Catwalks extended across the open spaces below me which were filled with machinery of different kinds.’
    • ‘If the canker extends below the soil line, the entire vine must be removed.’
    • ‘Obvious examples are the excavation of building foundation and tunnels that extend below the water-table.’
    • ‘They extend both above and below the waistline, are wider in the center and taper to points at both ends.’
    • ‘Cars would be banished to long tunnels running beneath the complex, and lorries and trucks to an even deeper tunnel network below them.’
    • ‘She looked down toward the ground and noticed a tree branch that extended out below her window.’
    • ‘The team found large hot bubbles extending above and below a disk of gas along the equator of the galaxy.’
    • ‘Standing, I shuffled into the kitchen and peered into the space below the sink.’
    • ‘There is adequate storage below the berths although hanging locker space is limited and there is no wet locker.’
    • ‘Drilled piles were used to extend the load below the expanse of surface soil.’
    beneath, under, underneath, further down than, lower than
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adverb

  • 1At a lower level or layer:

    ‘he jumped from the window into the moat below’
    • ‘If you slip, you go tumbling over the roof into the expanse below.’
    • ‘He fell past the tree and onto the ground below.’
    • ‘It fell a few feet below us, then came zooming back up straight at me.’
    • ‘So he jumped below and spread the chart of Mag Bay out on the table and yelled soundings and direction to me.’
    • ‘And one, two three....the young giant leapt into the Sea 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’
      • ‘These analyses will be elaborated below and subsequently defended against various alternative analyses.’
      • ‘As will be presented below, this same level of analysis can be applied to other stay/leave models.’
      • ‘But there are, of course, other tests, apart from the one adopted below and apart from the one that we pressed for.’
      • ‘The table below gives the final rank for India in the Women's World Cup.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Check out the simple virtual reality example below and then try one of the sites listed at the bottom of the page.’
      • ‘You have the option of clicking on the subjects below or simply reading the interview from the beginning.’
      • ‘Examine the vignettes below and then read the discussion that follows.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This drops down parallel to another pitch described below and eventually the two merge.’
      • ‘This can be combined with the suit ranking variation described below.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’

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/