Main definitions of low in English

: low1low2

low1

adjective

  • 1Of less than average height from top to bottom or to the top from the ground.

    ‘the school is a long, low building’
    ‘a low table’
    • ‘Then we ventured out onto the frozen waters of Calriga Bay, where the ice stretched grey and wrinkled to a horizon of low, wooded islands.’
    • ‘The present Gawthorpe Hall is splendidly proportioned, set on a low hill overlooking a sweeping bend over the River Calder.’
    • ‘It was a long, low bungalow looking on to Fritton Lake and surrounded by woods.’
    • ‘Another, even louder rumble made him move faster so it wasn't long before he came upon a cluster of small, low buildings.’
    • ‘The tables were low and a lot of the men had to hunch over to eat.’
    • ‘Long, low arcades line the river bank, with red lanterns suspended under the eaves.’
    • ‘By the time they moved in the gardens had been turfed and paved, and were framed with low open railings.’
    • ‘Through the low, open doorway a couple of shabby sheets are splayed across the floor in the tiny bedroom.’
    • ‘To provide a summer screen for dustbins, or simply to increase the height of a low fence, plant Jerusalem artichokes.’
    • ‘The gates were low on either side and dipped upwards in the middle, resembling a large overturned bowl.’
    • ‘We chose to stay, deciding on a large booth with low tables and ordered cappuccinos, served quickly.’
    • ‘Both ponds were divided from the lake by a low promontory of land that encircled them.’
    • ‘They construct webs in the branches of shrubs and low trees in open habitat near water.’
    • ‘A low dam on the river creates a small lake that provides decent fishing for bass and sunfish.’
    • ‘The two jumped off the low building and over to where the screams were coming from.’
    • ‘Their little mining venture was situated on a low ridge, not far from the track through to Queensland.’
    • ‘It's a constant threat every time I go through a low door in this dress.’
    • ‘To the right of the bar, which is straight in front as you enter, is a large loungy section with lots of comfy seats and low tables.’
    • ‘This was carved out of the clay millions of years ago by the passage of the river, leaving wide flood plains bordered by low, wooded foothills.’
    • ‘At the sunlit front of the shed, an artisan sat cross-legged on the ground, a low table before him.’
    short, small, little
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Situated not far above the ground, the horizon, or sea level.
      ‘the sun was low in the sky’
      • ‘It seemed to take no notice of them and swung onto a low branch above Katrina holding on only by its feet.’
      • ‘We are careful not to hit our heads on the low ceilings because we could easily knock off some of the stalactites.’
      • ‘Pruning is done after flowering with stems being taken back to just above a low growth point.’
      • ‘We all kept bumping our heads on the loopily low ceiling.’
      • ‘Ignorant to the fact that the roof was low on one side, I scraped my forehead as I stood up straight.’
      • ‘Brewster, addressing the loose ball at an awkward height, cut his low volley into a vacant corner of the net.’
      • ‘The first are in low valleys where lakes did not form and the second, larger ones are higher and the result of rainfall.’
      • ‘The low door lintel in the upper room was suitably covered to prevent accidents!’
      • ‘The ceiling is low, and it's a great place to relax and have some privacy.’
      • ‘Davies arrived on stage at the poky Basement Bar like Gulliver, forcing a crouch so his huge arms could reach up to the perilously low ceiling.’
      • ‘The guest room in the middle of the hallway had a low, almost horizontal ceiling on one end.’
      • ‘The room was quite big, but the ceiling was quite low, about three or four feet above her head.’
      • ‘At this height, among the Himalayas, the sky looms like a low ceiling and the snow does not have far to fall.’
      • ‘The march went up high hills and down low valleys, and crossed the great Himalayan rivers.’
      • ‘I hopped in a low branch over a river and leaned against the tree trunk, gazing ahead of me.’
      • ‘Scrape a little bark off the bottom of a low branch and pin the scraped part to the ground with a rock or tent stake.’
      • ‘I tried to jump out of the bed and ended up slamming my head against the low shelf above me.’
      • ‘The driver, who was only on her second day on the route, misjudged the height of the low bridge, causing the accident.’
      • ‘With nowhere to go, the swelling water easily enters households situated at low positions.’
      • ‘The species occurs on sand, clay and loam, among low open woodland and in shrubland.’
    2. 1.2Located at or near the bottom of something.
      ‘low back pain’
      ‘he smashed a pane low down in the window’
      • ‘Being in shape and losing excess weight will help you avoid low back pain.’
      • ‘Children who are overweight or out of shape are more likely to have low back pain.’
      • ‘The rapidly rising numbers of people with low back pain, for example, implies a sociological rather than biological cause.’
      • ‘What can you tell a student or client who already has symptoms of low back pain?’
      • ‘Most back pain sufferers have pain of varying degrees of intensity located in the low back.’
      • ‘Endurance of back extensor muscles had the highest association with low back pain.’
      • ‘The people in the trial had low back pain for more than six weeks.’
      • ‘She noted a long history of low back pain dating back to the bus accident in 1984.’
      • ‘Because of the recurrent nature of low back pain, talk of a ‘cure’ is unrealistic.’
      • ‘One of the most dramatic has been the abandonment of bed rest as a treatment for low back pain and its replacement by early activity and exercise.’
      • ‘I was mildly surprised when she came into the office with low back pain radiating down her left leg.’
      • ‘Four clinical findings have been shown to be predictors of cancer in patients with low back pain.’
      • ‘Most patients can get treatment immediately, such as those with headache, tennis elbow or low back pain.’
      • ‘Our results are supported by earlier research on acupuncture for low back pain.’
      • ‘I've had a problem with low back pain for years due to a damaged disk in my spine.’
      • ‘Patients with low back and leg pain are generally in their most productive years.’
      • ‘He confirmed that she suffered from low back pain since the 1960s.’
      • ‘You can't be fit and healthy if you are walking around on crutches or hobbled with low back pain.’
      • ‘It is a commonly held belief that 90% of episodes of low back pain resolve within eight weeks.’
    3. 1.3(of women's clothing) cut so as to reveal the neck and the upper part of the breasts.
      ‘the low neckline of her blouse’
      [in combination] ‘a low-cut black dress’
      • ‘The bodice was subtly ruched and the low neckline showed off her creamy neck and shoulders.’
      • ‘It was low, yet not revealing, and her sleeves were long and loose with tight cuffs at the wrists.’
      • ‘Her skirt was barely covering her rear and her shirt was low enough to show the lace on her bra.’
      • ‘Its hallmark was a return to the lines of the Edwardian age, with gathered skirts, low necklines and long flowing dresses.’
      • ‘With it, she wore a simple purple shirt with a neckline that was not quite low, but by no means modest.’
      • ‘I looked through another rack, and pulled out a sleek black one, with a high neckline and a low back.’
      • ‘The neck comes a little too low for mother's taste, but father says I look beautiful in it.’
      • ‘On top of her sweatshirt, she wore a dark, low cut vest, revealing her ample bosom.’
      • ‘They wore lilac satin dresses with low crossover backs, diamanté detail and small trains.’
      • ‘Gem touched the diamond broach that lay at the center of her low, curved neck-line.’
      • ‘I made sure that I had plenty of jackets to wear and that none of my shirts were low cut.’
      • ‘The neckline was low and open to reveal her collarbone and a little bit of cleavage.’
      • ‘They were given pink dresses with low necks and frilly arms and hems.’
      • ‘She was never associated with skimpy bathing suits, low cut gowns and short dresses.’
      • ‘The cut of the bodice was tight and extremely low, revealing her ample bosom to all.’
      • ‘There is only an inch of cloth on each shoulder and the neck is cut very low.’
      • ‘The neckline of the dress is very low, and her brown hair tumbles over her bare shoulders.’
      • ‘She wore a swing style coat that blew open in the wind, revealing a low cut purple dress.’
      • ‘It was formfitting showing off all her curves at the top with a low, but not at all revealing, neckline.’
      • ‘I said, studying a beautiful baby blue dress with a low neckline and bell sleeves.’
    4. 1.4(of latitude) near the equator.
      ‘the warming effect will be greatest at low latitudes’
      • ‘The site must be low in latitude as well, so that solar panels can get the most intense sunlight possible.’
      • ‘Generally, it is agreed that such stars need to be low in latitude and near the ecliptic.’
    5. 1.5Phonetics
      (of a vowel) pronounced with the tongue held low in the mouth; open.
  • 2Below average in amount, extent, or intensity.

    ‘bringing up children on a low income’
    ‘borrowing fell to a low level’
    ‘cook over low heat’
    • ‘The primary reason for this was the low level of disposable income.’
    • ‘The number of extramarital births, however, remains very low by European standards.’
    • ‘Over a low to moderate heat this will take a good 25 minutes, during which time a savoury golden sediment will attach itself to the pan.’
    • ‘However, the number of fixed-term employees in Australia remains relatively low by some international standards.’
    • ‘In subtropical or temperate regions, or on tropical mountains low temperatures may limit their growth and survival.’
    • ‘Alternatively, during the 1980s the Japanese authorities kept interest rates artificially low to help bolster a sluggish world economy.’
    • ‘It revealed that disclosure of sexual violence to professionals was strikingly low.’
    • ‘Mortality is extremely low in patients under 40 years old but thereafter increases steeply with advancing age.’
    • ‘Any cursory examination of schools would reveal that the attendance on Carnival week is abysmally low.’
    • ‘The sugar industry is struggling against a corrupt world market which keeps prices artificially low.’
    • ‘There was also a low level of disabled staff in the workforce.’
    • ‘There was an increase of 50 percent in the number of children suffering from low weight for their height.’
    • ‘Our costs are low by industry standards but that is not to say they could not be lower.’
    • ‘The reason for that was low skill levels and a lower proportion of quality jobs.’
    • ‘I believe it is still a good market for borrowers, as mortgage rates remain relatively low.’
    • ‘Second, low rates continue to boost wealth in the household and corporate sectors.’
    • ‘One of the main problems we have is the low level of income at which single people become liable at the top tax rate.’
    • ‘Study after study reveals a surprisingly low number of gunsmiths in early America.’
    • ‘The economy was growing strongly, unemployment was coming down, inflation was low, real incomes were rising fast.’
    • ‘Another consequence of underfunding is that staff levels are very low at the moment.’
    unambitious, unaspiring, modest
    cheap, inexpensive, low-priced, low-cost, economical, moderate, reasonable, modest, bargain, cut-price, bargain-basement, rock-bottom
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1(of a river or lake) below the usual water level.
      ‘the river was low’
      • ‘The river was very low but rises in minutes in heavy rain, something to do with draining from the old lead mines.’
      • ‘When creeks are low in summer, they are also most sensitive to environmental damage, he added.’
      • ‘After about 300 yards, you reach stepping stones across the Water of Ken, which can be crossed if the river is low enough.’
      • ‘It is, after all, not only when reservoirs are low that we should strive to waste less water.’
      • ‘Rivers are desperately low, but given a healthy lift, things could become most interesting over the coming weeks.’
      • ‘He said the stones were too far apart and damaged, and were completely covered even when the river was low.’
      • ‘Fishing with it usually takes place during the drier months from September to December when the river is low.’
      • ‘Water utility companies too, are affected because the water levels in the rivers are low due to erratic rains.’
      • ‘The reservoirs were low and the supply was being augmented by pumping from the Mints Feet well.’
      • ‘The river was low and clear with good light making everything clearly visible.’
      • ‘The river is low just now, and the exposed gravel flats made for easy walking.’
      • ‘When the river is very low and the pool is not fishable it is usually possible to walk out into the middle of the river and fish directly into the deep water channel.’
      • ‘The creek was low, no more than a few inches deep for most of its length and the fish were bunched up in the deeper water beneath the bridge.’
      • ‘It is true that we have had a dry winter, and that the reservoirs are low.’
      • ‘They're the very months that environmentalists will tell you that the river was traditionally low.’
    2. 2.2(of a substance or food) containing smaller quantities than usual of a specified ingredient.
      ‘vegetables are low in calories’
      [in combination] ‘low-fat spreads’
      • ‘You need to start eating low fat, low sugar food, exercise and lose about 10 kilos.’
      • ‘Only sandy soils that are low in organic matter are likely to need added sulfur.’
      • ‘Well we designed the low protein, low fibre diet so that we didn't actually alter the calories.’
      • ‘An agreement has been made with most chains in Scotland for foods which are low in sugar and fat to carry a government kite mark.’
      • ‘Most processed foods are very low in antioxidants as they are removed during manufacture.’
      • ‘Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat, and they add flavor and variety to your diet.’
      • ‘Baked beans (especially the low salt and sugar varieties) have a distinct edge I think.’
      • ‘Check the actual fat grams per serving to determine whether a food is truly low in fat.’
      • ‘Kangaroo meat is very low in fat so it can easily dry out during cooking.’
      • ‘This diet is low in cholesterol and saturated fat and high in complex carbohydrates.’
      • ‘They're also low in calories and sodium and contain no fat or cholesterol.’
      • ‘Now she focuses more on eating whole foods, with their naturally low sodium content.’
      • ‘It can act as a feedstock for a number of organic compounds, and is already used to produce low phosphate detergents and plastics.’
      • ‘The diet is low in fat which, research shows, is a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off.’
      • ‘You will need a steam iron, a low sodium club soda, and clean white cotton towels.’
      • ‘They contain protein, healthy fats and fiber, and they're low in carbs.’
      • ‘And since you're on a fat-loss plan, they should be relatively low in calories.’
      • ‘The dieters were advised to eat healthy foods that are also low in carbs.’
      • ‘You'll be less hungry if you have a satisfying portion of food that is low in calories.’
      • ‘Research shows that low fat, low sugar and high fibre diets can help with acne.’
    3. 2.3(of a supply) small or reduced in quantity.
      ‘food and ammunition were running low’
      • ‘Water comes up to the second floor, they are out of gasoline, and food supplies are running perilously low.’
      • ‘While a few animals will starve to death when food supplies are low, the species will survive.’
      • ‘This hormone is necessary for a sense of wellbeing and when supplies fall too low, we can feel depressed.’
      • ‘By 14 February fuel supplies were so low that many industries were on a three-day week.’
      • ‘Their ammunition and other supplies were low, but the job had to be done.’
      • ‘Through the village she was silent, except to say that the women needed seed, for their store was very low.’
      • ‘Following the horrific loss of life and injury in Bali, blood supplies are critically low.’
      • ‘The latest utility crisis has little to do with low supplies of natural gas or electricity.’
      • ‘So too did the Georgette, whose coal supplies were dangerously low.’
      • ‘I'll try to send more as time passes, but you may need to remind me when your supply gets low.’
      • ‘Their food and water supplies were dangerously low and the elf rationed it harshly.’
      • ‘We have no control over increased costs or low supplies, but we do have control over our attitude.’
      • ‘Given the already low supply, some towns reportedly did not have any plywood left to sell.’
      • ‘When the season is at the peak, lobsters are held in corrals until the supply becomes low.’
      • ‘The union knew it; they also knew that the food supply was not as low as advertised.’
      • ‘Bryan and Laura were chatting while Michelle talked with Nikki about our low supplies.’
      • ‘In Indonesia, people have been forced to loot stores as food and water supplies run perilously low.’
      • ‘Despite low supplies and starvation, the French army put up stiff resistance for two months.’
    4. 2.4Having a small or reduced quantity of a supply.
      ‘they were low on fuel’
      • ‘The netball association is low on funds and finds it difficult even to attend regional competitions.’
      • ‘It probably helps that it's a squad conspicuously low on superstars.’
      • ‘We were running extremely low on cash yesterday, and I didn't get paid until today.’
      • ‘Though he was low on cash and feeling squeezed, he didn't like the terms the banks offered.’
      • ‘We had to bring young players into a team that was low on confidence and not playing well.’
      • ‘Information gained by Bedfordshire on Sunday has revealed that the service is already running desperately low on crews.’
      • ‘She was so low on money these days that she felt the need to beg for money.’
      • ‘Because he was low on cash, Amos couldn't afford to buy another batch right away.’
      • ‘If you get stuck in Nice and are low on funds, Thomas still goes every summer.’
      • ‘If someone's bucket was low on squid, the folks with good catches poured in a few.’
      • ‘Merchants had run dramatically low on supplies, causing high prices on simple things.’
      • ‘Dozens of consumer Web sites were already low on cash and losing money fast.’
      • ‘Air people can also bring a smile to anyone's face when they are low on spirits.’
  • 3Ranking below other people or things in importance or class.

    ‘jobs with low status’
    ‘training will be given low priority’
    • ‘The low status of women in contemporary Egypt is therefore no fault of Islam.’
    • ‘One can only assume that for the command, this program is low priority.’
    • ‘The answer that if most often given for not using technologies is lack of time which is another way of saying it is a too low priority to be done.’
    • ‘When members of the public make a complaint, they are classed as low priority and have to wait until more serious crimes are dealt with.’
    • ‘The perception persists among some gay people that their issues are a low priority within the party.’
    • ‘Most people said that Tara was a foolish little girl for playing with such a low class person.’
    • ‘In the past, colleges of agriculture placed a low priority on agricultural economics.’
    • ‘The missing child of an unwed mother was a low priority for police.’
    • ‘Joe, one of the bad guys, who was part of the low class of the gang, slides the wood board on the door like a window.’
    • ‘These women, although they lived a rich life depending on their beauty, still had a low status in the family.’
    • ‘One class of the population is too high to be reached by the preacher; and the other class is too low to be cared for by the preacher.’
    • ‘A further complication is the very low status of woman in many of these societies.’
    • ‘In a hard-pressed inpatient unit they will be a very low priority.’
    • ‘The children are drawn from low class families mostly children of farm hands.’
    • ‘Many dealers, even though they were successful, tired of the labor and low status and opted out.’
    • ‘Steps are also being taken to address the traditional low status of judges.’
    • ‘He had too much on his mind and too many things to do than get apologies from the low classes.’
    • ‘It was either he wasn't too interested in talking or the fact that my status was too low for him.’
    • ‘The low status of widowhood has the severest impact on society.’
    • ‘The unemployment gap between those of high educational status and low status is also growing.’
    humble, lowly, low-born, low-bred, low-ranking, plebeian, proletarian, peasant, poor
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1(of art or culture) considered to be inferior in quality and refinement.
      ‘the dual traditions of high and low art’
      • ‘These days, the divide between high culture and low culture seems to be disappearing.’
      • ‘In other words, the high / low culture debates are often no more than an agenda to keep the literari amused at the dinner table.’
      • ‘Instead of high drama in slow motion, this is low drama and high speed as the cars zip by.’
      • ‘When I walked around the Hayward my first thoughts had nothing to do with low art.’
      • ‘People thought Cleo was low drama, just because it was about a hugely popular comedy form.’
      • ‘Even TV cartoons with artistic pretensions tend to be about as low as low art can get.’
      • ‘There are those who insist that low culture will always drive out high culture.’
      • ‘There is plenty of low art around, and a huge demand for it.’
      • ‘Last week, the lord and lady of low culture launched their new website.’
      • ‘There was high art and low art, and they never met, like rail tracks.’
      • ‘This was a right old mishmash of high art and low culture, sport and theatre.’
      • ‘Maybe it's foolish to look at it as anything other than a triumph of low culture and cheap thrills.’
      • ‘It is not that other countries do not indulge in this, more that one in particular is turning it into a low art form.’
      • ‘So it makes perfect sense to leave the masses to their low culture, and they will likely do the same for you.’
      • ‘Thus has postmodernism helped close the gap between high art and low art.’
    2. 3.2Less good than is expected or desired; inferior.
      ‘the standard of living is low’
      • ‘We've had a disastrous year in our local lobster fishery, with catches down by half and the catch of low quality.’
      • ‘This has led to the low quality of most of this sector's products, and hence its decreased credibility.’
      • ‘But today, low quality is often presented as a justification for speech regulation.’
      • ‘Moreover, the high quality and low prices of these goods played a major role in forcing changes in the economies of Europe and other nations.’
      • ‘The reasons for the increased use of mobile phones also include the low quality and unreliability of fixed-line services.’
      • ‘However, cheap carries with it the connotation of low quality and low performance.’
      • ‘It is totally unregulated and much of it is of low quality.’
      • ‘Let's face it, most of them came here to escape the low quality of life and the glaring risks.’
      • ‘This tends to be of a low quality and over-crowding with families of three or four in one medium-size room is not uncommon.’
      • ‘By this time he had more men than his pursuers, but they were of low quality because the best troops were kept in European Russia in case of rebellion.’
      • ‘Poor allocation of Government funds often contributes to the low quality of rural education.’
      • ‘The mark up and transportation costs may overprice the product, while at the same time its quality may be low.’
      • ‘I think that has contributed to the growth of courses of low quality.’
      • ‘The state of the infrastructure is poor with low quality telephone lines and little if anything in the way of broadband.’
      • ‘Then it got onto a low quality US news site, and many more linked to their story.’
      • ‘The low quality of college and university graduates is another concern.’
      • ‘In return, owners are not keen to offer more than a low quality of service.’
      • ‘The movie has failed miserably at the box office and the producers have blamed the low quality of the latest game for the poor ticket sales.’
      • ‘Evidence for this fact can be found in the terribly low quality of this entry, and my true inability to write anything better.’
      • ‘Apologies for the relatively low quality but it's in order to keep the file size down.’
    3. 3.3Unscrupulous or dishonest.
      ‘practise a little low cunning’
      • ‘But in the end he lacked the sagacity or the low cunning to do the one thing necessary.’
      • ‘The Liberal Party has always been a mix of idealism, pragmatism, opportunism and low cunning.’
      • ‘He was the personification of the kind of low cunning to which Nixon himself aspired but could never quite achieve.’
    4. 3.4(of an opinion) unfavourable.
      ‘he had a low opinion of himself’
      • ‘Today very few scientists hold low opinions of Darwin, either as a person or as a scientist.’
      • ‘He taught Lilly the rudiments of astrology, but Lilly had a low opinion of his tutor.’
      • ‘I have a low opinion of myself, I'm angry at life and I'm somebody I don't want to be when I'm on drugs.’
      • ‘He clearly has a low opinion of what the state system has done for Britain's pensioners and will look for a wholesale reform.’
      • ‘After seeing this film, my admittedly low opinion of both has risen dramatically.’
      • ‘On the way home I might suddenly get a new low opinion of the flowers, and feel embarrassment at having bought them.’
      • ‘My uncle reminded my grandfather of my father's low opinion of his life's work.’
      • ‘He wondered why a woman like her was single and had such a low opinion of men.’
      • ‘Broadcasters today seem to have a low opinion of viewers' intelligence.’
      • ‘He had a very low opinion of the capacity of my sex, and had neither knowledge of, nor interest in, science of any kind.’
      • ‘Though Cat had only known him for one week, she still managed to form a low opinion of him.’
      • ‘I have a low opinion of pop music lyrics, I just happen to have a near-perfect memory for them.’
      • ‘I cannot bear the thought of one so compassionate and noble as you having such a low opinion of me.’
      • ‘There may be other reasons why children sometimes have low self-esteem - a low opinion of how they may appear to others.’
      • ‘People on the whole have a low opinion of their political representatives.’
      • ‘Most of the ones I know have a low opinion of them but never seem to be asked.’
      • ‘I think it also possible that he has such a low opinion of her that he is determined that his opinions and views shall prevail over hers.’
      • ‘A recent Gallup poll showed that the American public has a very low opinion of journalists.’
      • ‘Another aspect of Germany's malaise, however, is the low opinion the public has of its politicians.’
      • ‘The nursing profession as a group well understood the low opinion other professions had of them.’
  • 4(of a sound or voice) not loud or high.

    ‘keep the volume very low’
    ‘his low, husky voice’
    • ‘White fangs were glistening as you opened your mouth and let out a low growl.’
    • ‘Her voice still reached him as she continued to speak to her caller in low tones before hanging up.’
    • ‘His eyes were wide open in shock and as he opened his mouth in a low groan, I winced.’
    • ‘Wind opened his mouth but all that came out was a low groan.’
    • ‘The voice was low and sounded somewhat familiar in that strange sort of way.’
    • ‘His voice was low and loud, like a volcanic eruption sounds from inside the volcano.’
    • ‘As he approached the living room, low voices began to register on his hearing.’
    • ‘In a low voice she recited a poem that my grandmother used to say.’
    • ‘Her voice was slow but determined, the fires and winds quieting at the sound of her low voice.’
    • ‘Another time, I woke to my older brothers talking in low tones.’
    • ‘This was said in a low tone, and it was a few seconds before the other people in the room realized something was wrong and looked up.’
    • ‘I retreated a single small step and suddenly the claws were at my neck again, a low growling in my ear.’
    • ‘He talked with whoever was at the door in low whispers and then opened the door all the way and in came a girl.’
    • ‘His curly brown hair was short, his eyes were an uninteresting grey, and his voice was low and quiet.’
    • ‘She could already hear them conversing in low tones, muffled against the closed double doors.’
    • ‘He opens his mouth in response and lets out a low wheeze.’
    • ‘Her voice is wonderfully low and husky, perfect for a night full of regret, anger and crying.’
    • ‘The voice was low, and he sounded like those people who were grumpy all the time.’
    • ‘He simply stood for half a second, a low, guttural cry escaping his burnt throat, before he ran.’
    • ‘The Captain let out a low whistle as he opened the cabinet, its contents a vampire killer's dream.’
    quiet, soft, faint, muted, subdued, muffled, hushed, quietened, whispered, stifled, murmured, gentle, dulcet, indistinct, inaudible
    bass, low-pitched, deep, deep-toned, low-toned, full-toned, resonant, rich, rumbling, booming, resounding, sonorous
    View synonyms
  • 5Depressed or lacking in energy.

    ‘I was feeling low’
    • ‘As low, dejected and depressed as she'd ever felt, she began to get the morning's activities prepared.’
    • ‘In any community, there are lots of people who are in trouble, who feel depressed and low.’
    depressed, dejected, despondent, downhearted, downcast, low-spirited, down, sorrowful, gloomy, glum, unhappy, sad, melancholy, blue, fed up, morose, moody, miserable, dismal, heavy-hearted, mournful, forlorn, woebegone
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1A low point, level, or figure.

    ‘his popularity ratings are at an all-time low’
    • ‘In 2001, many Costa Rican coffee farmers were forced off their land and into poverty when coffee prices plummeted to record lows.’
    • ‘Companies are also scurrying to rebuild depleted inventories, as stock levels sink to record lows in relation to sales.’
    • ‘Electoral support for the two parties has dropped to all-time lows, with record numbers of people expressing their disgust by voting for Independents or minor parties.’
    • ‘With esteem levels at a January low, people are particularly vulnerable to be mis-sold miracles.’
    • ‘Last Friday the Bank of Scotland revealed that the number of first-time buyers in Scotland had fallen to a record low.’
    • ‘Though consumer price inflation is at record lows, having fallen to an annual rate of 1.5% last month, prices and wages in the state sector are rising much faster.’
    • ‘Bittern numbers had hit dangerous lows in the past as large areas of their reedbed habitat were drained, destroyed or neglected.’
    • ‘Profit expectations fell eight points to a 10-year low of 2 percent.’
    • ‘The dollar has plunged to an all-time low against the euro.’
    • ‘Interest rates are at historic lows, home values continue to magically rise, and you do not plan to be living in the same house in five years.’
    • ‘In alpine environments, plants may be exposed to high temperatures during the day, but may be subject to overnight lows near freezing.’
    • ‘The stockmarket fell by over 40 percent last year and the baht hit all-time lows against the US dollar.’
    • ‘The stock fell 2.74 per cent on Wednesday to a 3-month low of 14.2 cents before the suspension.’
    • ‘The dollar reached another new low against the euro, however.’
    • ‘As of June 21, the euro was nearing a nine-month low against the very shaky dollar.’
    • ‘Ratings fell to an all-time low of 2.6 million on Saturday, and the show has been axed.’
    • ‘Stocks hit a year low of 36 cents earlier that day.’
    • ‘The index has now jumped 13 points from October's lows to the highest level since December 2000.’
    • ‘Spending has been jump-started by a drop in interest rates to 30-year lows as well as by the best monsoon since 1988.’
    • ‘But as shameful as inaction is, Alberta is expected to set some all time records for a new low.’
    nadir, low point, lowest point, all-time low, lowest level, low-water mark, bottom, rock bottom
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An area of low barometric pressure; a depression.
      ‘the weatherman talked about highs and lows’
      • ‘This may sometimes be associated with a tropical cyclone or a monsoon low.’
      • ‘However, another significant factor is the development of highs and lows out in the Atlantic.’
      • ‘At the peak of the La Nina some drought relief can occur when warm moist tropical lows are brought onto the country.’
      • ‘The circulation is then entirely of cold polar air, and there is little precipitation associated with such lows when they reach the polar areas.’
      • ‘In his defence though, he did say that strong winds could cause problems, and that there was a vicious looking low on our doorstep.’
      • ‘This difference in temperatures would have encouraged deeper and more severe lows to develop.’
      • ‘Heavy rains extended south to the Illawarra escarpment west of Wollongong, an area accustomed to drenchings from east coast lows.’
      • ‘People who know about thermal lows and high pressure in cold air often jump to the conclusion that warm air means low pressure and cold air means high.’
      • ‘The powerful winds that accompany tropical cyclones and east coast lows can and do generate huge waves.’
      • ‘Such lows usually form when a strong wind speed maximum riding along the main belt of westerly jet stream winds dives into a deep upper-level trough or dip in the jet.’
      • ‘A third east coast low developed on 26 June, and became notorious for the huge seas it produced.’
      • ‘These lows suck the low level air north of the sub-tropical highs which then becomes westerlies as it heads for that feature.’
      • ‘Two six month contracts are being offered to those who feel they have what it takes to explain highs, lows, mid-Atlantic depressions and incoming warm fronts.’
  • 2A difficult time in a person's life.

    ‘the highs and lows of an actor's life’
    • ‘We've been through a lot of lows during the last three years and I thought this would be a lovely memory, something that would be with us for ever.’
    • ‘I went through many highs and lows, and this was an escape.’
    • ‘His music has helped me through the highs and lows of my life and his rendition of ‘Never let me go’ is something I will never forget.’
    • ‘If you're not just in love but willing to go through the highs and lows because of that love, then I want people to know they're not alone.’
    • ‘They held me while I cried and shared my highs and lows throughout all these years.’
    • ‘These people have stuck by me through my highs and lows, my breakups and breakouts, my good hair days and bad hair days.’
    • ‘It's important to remember that, while he feeds on raw emotion and can be upset by the slightest wrinkle, he has been through more highs and lows than most will ever experience.’
    • ‘I survived 20 years as an actor, with a few highs and a lot of lows.’
    • ‘If anyone deserves it, he does because he has shown so much mental strength to come through all the lows.’
    • ‘Whatever your mode of expression, know that you may be an emotional roller coaster racing through highs and lows of a war-charged grief cycle.’
    • ‘Her writing is a journey through a situation I suggest most of us fear to some extent and her great ability with words leaves one feeling in some small way that they have been there with her, through the highs and lows.’
    • ‘The highs and lows of this person's love life may be difficult for them to handle.’
    • ‘It's caused by the male hormone testosterone fluctuating, and highs and lows are perfectly normal at his age.’
    • ‘Through highs and lows, he faces the camera and explains what's going on and how he's feeling.’
    • ‘Yet, 12 years ago, when Gibson went through a low in his life, the idea of this work began to incubate in him.’
    1. 2.1informal A state of depression.
      ‘she doesn't have big highs or big lows’
      • ‘As much as any other task an entrepreneur must face, she must deal with these manic highs and depressing lows.’
      • ‘Playing for England provided yet bigger highs and lows.’
      • ‘A recent study showed that lamotrigine not only delays the time to any mood events but is notably effective against the depressive lows of bipolar illness.’

adverb

  • 1In or into a low position or state.

    ‘she pressed on, bent low to protect her face’
    • ‘If river levels sink too low, barges could be grounded and agriculture thrown into chaos.’
    • ‘It was flying very low and momentarily disappeared into a valley.’
    • ‘We lived because someone made holes with a machine gun, though they were shooting low and still more died from the bullets.’
    • ‘They instantly began their workouts again as the sun sank dangerously low on the horizon.’
    • ‘The two planes came in low from over the horizon, chased by the rising sun.’
    • ‘He stays too low to the ground and is too crafty with the ball to be stopped.’
    • ‘To drink, these graceful birds skim low over the surface scooping water with open mouths.’
    • ‘They flew low in the sky and they made a loud, happy racket.’
    • ‘He crouched low to the ground and held the sword firmly with both hands.’
    • ‘He watched the object come off the lake and fly very low and circle around the house.’
  • 2In a low voice or at a low pitch.

    ‘we were talking low so we wouldn't wake Dean’

Phrases

  • the lowest of the low

    • The people regarded as the most immoral or socially inferior of all.

      ‘child molesters are the lowest of the low’
      • ‘To steal from the dead is the lowest of the low - it just doesn't get any lower than that.’
      • ‘I think that publishing pictures of anybody as they're dying is the lowest of the low.’
      • ‘He arrived in the big city, the lowest of the low - the bastard son of a peasant - and stayed there.’
      • ‘You have stooped to the lowest of the low in parliamentary debate.’
      • ‘I mean in the eyes of most people, sex offenders are the lowest of the low.’
      • ‘We know that in the criminal fraternity attacks on the elderly and infirm are seen as the lowest of the low.’
      • ‘This act of solidarity with the lowest of the low in a place of unspeakable violence illustrates the unbounded depth and breadth of God's compassionate presence.’
      • ‘For someone to do such a thing - I think they are the lowest of the low.’
      • ‘This was an appalling crime and whoever did this is the lowest of the low.’
      • ‘Usually converted from smaller supply ships, or cobbled together by the less intelligent of the engineering classes, the class three ships had made a name for themselves as the lowest of the low.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old Norse lágr, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch laag, also to lie.

Pronunciation:

low

/ləʊ/

Main definitions of low in English

: low1low2

low2

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • (of a cow) make a characteristic deep sound.

    ‘the cocks were crowing, the cows lowing’
    ‘the lowing of cattle’
    • ‘Guests at Prestonfield can enjoy rural tranquillity, strutting peacocks and lowing Highland cattle without sacrificing access to the Royal Mile.’
    • ‘Cattle lowed behind him as Joe picked his way through the snow.’
    • ‘Up here it's so quiet at night you can hear the cattle lowing in the valley, and the snow touching the ground in winter.’
    • ‘Animals added their noises to the din, poultry screeching and draft animals lowing as they were displayed and examined.’
    • ‘I turned off on a small farm road and found myself among lowing cattle.’
    • ‘The cattle are lowing, the shepherds wash their socks by night and I am now on holiday.’
    • ‘The sun was bright and cheerily shone in on her bed, the birds were chirping noisily, Mathilde was lowing from the barn eager to be milked, and she smelled breakfast.’
    • ‘Before last July, there was the constant noise of squealing and lowing at Marderby Hall, Felixkirk.’
    • ‘Cows lowed in their fields and dogs barked as children dashed through the street, weaving their way through the people that were now out.’
    • ‘The three men always fell asleep to the sound of horses whickering from the nearby corral and the cattle lowing on the plains.’
    • ‘Some cattle lowed from holding pens across the drive.’
    • ‘Where is the description of the stable, crude and bare, with cattle lowing and the baby Jesus lying on a bed of hay?’
    • ‘When we arrived on the dock some of the cargo was still being loaded - some sad-looking cattle were being urged through a large hatchway into the bowels of the ship, lowing miserably as they went.’
    • ‘Far from the bucolic paradise of popular myth, with lowing herds winding slowly o'er the lea, modern farms have as much romance as a widget factory.’
    • ‘I could hear the milk-maids' buckets clatter, the cows lowing in the dell, and the indentured servant boy's tortured cries as he was being flogged.’
    • ‘The little steer lowed to its Ma, its feet again getting perilously close to the edge.’
    moo, bellow
    View synonyms

noun

  • A sound made by cattle; a moo.

Origin

Old English hlōwan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch loeien, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin clamare to shout.

Pronunciation:

low

/ləʊ/