Definition of below in English:



  • 1At a lower level or layer than.

    ‘just below the pocket was a stain’
    ‘the blistered skin below his collar’
    • ‘The ground floor, which would be partially set below pavement level, would accommodate two single bedroom residential units.’
    • ‘A deep cut could penetrate to the fatty layer below the skin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Surrounded by water on all sides, the edifice is 11 stories high but also goes 18 metres below sea level.’
    • ‘There is barely any discernible sensation of the blade below skin 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the long run, the New Orleans area has a particular challenge, because much of the city lies below sea 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.’
    • ‘Sections of the original façade were missing and the original entrance to the house was buried below street level.’
    1. 1.1Lower in grade or rank than.
      ‘the aristocracy rank below the monarchy’
      ‘they rated the company's financial soundness below its competitor's’
      • ‘Our ratings in those markets are below that of our competitors.’
      • ‘However, that would still be well below its original financial forecast, he noted.’
      • ‘For me, bathing suit shopping is an annual occurrence that ranks slightly below a trip to the dentist.’
      • ‘In the Hebrew Bible nonhuman animals are generally ranked below the humans with whom they share the earth.’
      • ‘He loved the fear in the women's faces and voices; he reveled in the fear of those who ranked below him.’
      • ‘I remember looking up to see a small girl in a grade below me laughing behind her hand.’
      • ‘Italy ranks below Botswana, while Namibia scores equal with Greece.’
      • ‘Payson is confident Oxford's raises are still below those of its competitors.’
      • ‘I have a hard time accepting that we rank below Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia and Slovakia.’
      • ‘Megan was Sara and Callie's close friend, even though she was a grade below the senior girls.’
      • ‘Apollyon was his Second Lieutenant, ranking below only Lady Alysia and the Prince himself.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Too many are doing work which is at least a grade below their skills.’
      • ‘Health care and more affordable childcare places rank below tax cuts in current macho political cultures.’
      • ‘The difficulty both for contemporaries and for historians has been to find a term suitable for describing landowners below the ranks of the gentry.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His certificate ranks immediately below the MBE, and he is the first member of a combined cadet force to receive the accolade.’
      • ‘50 years ago: The Spa at Scarborough had banned members of the Army below the rank of sergeant.’
      lower than, under, inferior to, subordinate to, secondary to, subservient to
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    2. 1.2Lower than (a specified amount or standard)
      ‘pupils of below average ability’
      ‘below freezing’
      ‘below 50 mph’
      • ‘This includes lowering the annual level of inflation to below 5 per cent.’
      • ‘There are countless examples of conduct by high profile sports stars that fall well below community standards.’
      • ‘Samples tested for dioxins and furans showed concentrations at or below those expected under normal circumstances.’
      • ‘But they highlighted the need for more rigor in improving standards, which are below average.’
      • ‘There will be some years when shares may perform well and other times when they could fall below the long-term average.’
      • ‘He said staffing levels were 20% below the level required to provide a basic service.’
      • ‘Similarly, the logging, refrigerated, and line haul drivers all reported below average amounts of sleep.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Negligence is defined by expert testimony as medical practice that falls below the standard of care.’
      • ‘If their behaviour falls below acceptable standards they will be prosecuted.’
      • ‘Your magazine rarely falls below standards of excellence.’
      • ‘Based upon the research approximately 10 percent of the population fell below this amount.’
      • ‘The RUH Trust however denied liability and claimed her treatment did not fall below an acceptable clinical standard.’
      • ‘This year's increase of 4.8 per cent falls well below the average of 5.9 per cent.’
      • ‘His memory deteriorated and his schoolwork fell below standard.’
      • ‘If the value of your account falls below a minimum, it could cost you.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The cost of travel to and from a job would lower most wages below the level of unemployment benefit.’
      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’
    • ‘The team found large hot bubbles extending above and below a disk of gas along the equator of the galaxy.’
    • ‘Tunnels and caverns deep below the snowy-white building were the safest place for storing valuables.’
    • ‘If the canker extends below the soil line, the entire vine must be removed.’
    • ‘Standing, I shuffled into the kitchen and peered into the space below the sink.’
    • ‘She looked down toward the ground and noticed a tree branch that extended out below her window.’
    • ‘The acromion is hook-like and extends below the glenoid as in modern mammals.’
    • ‘Obvious examples are the excavation of building foundation and tunnels that extend below the water-table.’
    • ‘There is adequate storage below the berths although hanging locker space is limited and there is no wet locker.’
    • ‘Catwalks extended across the open spaces below me which were filled with machinery of different kinds.’
    • ‘Males and females look the same, with white chins extending up just below the eyes and gray-brown caps.’
    • ‘During the First World War 12,000 Allied soldiers sweated and tunnelled below the town.’
    • ‘Memmel's cast, which had extended to just below her knee, was removed, but she is still on crutches.’
    • ‘Rights in possession can extend both below the surface of the land and to the airspace above it.’
    • ‘His target now was the doorway two floors below, straight underneath where he stood.’
    • ‘Most older houses will have a crawl space below the boards.’
    • ‘I had found an exit to the underground facility which led through a tunnel and ended below a janitor's closet.’
    • ‘Cars would be banished to long tunnels running beneath the complex, and lorries and trucks to an even deeper tunnel network below them.’
    • ‘They extend both above and below the waistline, are wider in the center and taper to points at both ends.’
    • ‘He states that to perform properly, the gas check cannot extend below the neck of a cartridge case.’
    • ‘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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  • 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He fell past the tree and onto the ground below.’
    further down, lower down, in a lower position, underneath, beneath, downstairs
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    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’
      • ‘The tables below rank the retailers in order of the quickest to respond and the friendliest reps.’
      • ‘This can be combined with the suit ranking variation described below.’
      • ‘The table below gives the final rank for India in the Women's World Cup.’
      • ‘You have the option of clicking on the subjects below or simply reading the interview from the beginning.’
      • ‘Check out the sales ranks of the books below - this is a pretty good indication of how much we care about this problem.’
      • ‘These analyses will be elaborated below and subsequently defended against various alternative analyses.’
      • ‘Examine the vignettes below and then read the discussion that follows.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But there are, of course, other tests, apart from the one adopted below and apart from the one that we pressed for.’
      • ‘As will be presented below, this same level of analysis can be applied to other stay/leave models.’
      • ‘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
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    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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.