Definition of below in US English:

below

preposition

  • 1At a lower level or layer than.

    ‘just below the pocket was a stain’
    ‘blistered skin below his collar’
    • ‘Robb also had three stars and a pennant defining his rank painted below the windscreen.’
    • ‘As we were driving through Calcutta, my friend pointed to a little shrine to a god embedded in a wall just below waist level.’
    • ‘In the long run, the New Orleans area has a particular challenge, because much of the city lies below sea level.’
    • ‘Sections of the original façade were missing and the original entrance to the house was buried below street level.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A deep cut could penetrate to the fatty layer below the skin.’
    • ‘The Taklamakan desert oasis of Turpan, at 154 metres below sea level, is the second lowest point in the world.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The ground floor, which would be partially set below pavement level, would accommodate two single bedroom residential units.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 Lower in grade or rank than.
      ‘they rated its financial soundness below its competitor's’
      • ‘This is why the media in this country rank below mad cow disease in terms of voter approval.’
      • ‘The difficulty both for contemporaries and for historians has been to find a term suitable for describing landowners below the ranks of the gentry.’
      • ‘I remember looking up to see a small girl in a grade below me laughing behind her hand.’
      • ‘That which transpired last midweek was probably the heaviest loss Scotland have suffered against a team ranked below them.’
      • ‘Apollyon was his Second Lieutenant, ranking below only Lady Alysia and the Prince himself.’
      • ‘In the Hebrew Bible nonhuman animals are generally ranked below the humans with whom they share the earth.’
      • ‘For me, bathing suit shopping is an annual occurrence that ranks slightly below a trip to the dentist.’
      • ‘However, that would still be well below its original financial forecast, he noted.’
      • ‘The term was used from around the mid-eighteenth century to describe those people below the aristocracy but above the workers.’
      • ‘Italy ranks below Botswana, while Namibia scores equal with Greece.’
      • ‘I have a hard time accepting that we rank below Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia and Slovakia.’
      • ‘He loved the fear in the women's faces and voices; he reveled in the fear of those who ranked below him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Too many are doing work which is at least a grade below their skills.’
      • ‘Megan was Sara and Callie's close friend, even though she was a grade below the senior girls.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Health care and more affordable childcare places rank below tax cuts in current macho political cultures.’
      • ‘Our ratings in those markets are below that of our competitors.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Lower than (a specified amount, rate, or norm)
      ‘below freezing’
      ‘below average’
      ‘a dive to below 60 feet’
      • ‘Ensure that whatever you do never falls below the standard of your abilities and goals.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the technical achievements of the film fall far below the standard set for the feature.’
      • ‘There are countless examples of conduct by high profile sports stars that fall well below community standards.’
      • ‘Similarly, the logging, refrigerated, and line haul drivers all reported below average amounts of sleep.’
      • ‘Your magazine rarely falls below standards of excellence.’
      • ‘There will be some years when shares may perform well and other times when they could fall below the long-term average.’
      • ‘This year's increase of 4.8 per cent falls well below the average of 5.9 per cent.’
      • ‘He said staffing levels were 20% below the level required to provide a basic service.’
      • ‘The cost of travel to and from a job would lower most wages below the level of unemployment benefit.’
      • ‘His memory deteriorated and his schoolwork fell below standard.’
      • ‘The RUH Trust however denied liability and claimed her treatment did not fall below an acceptable clinical standard.’
      • ‘Ratio IQs were calculated for the Bayley because scores in the manual do not extend below 50.’
      • ‘If their behaviour falls below acceptable standards they will be prosecuted.’
      • ‘But the report said teaching was poor, academic achievement was well below average and disruptive pupils were out of control.’
      • ‘If the value of your account falls below a minimum, it could cost you.’
      • ‘Based upon the research approximately 10 percent of the population fell below this amount.’
      • ‘Negligence is defined by expert testimony as medical practice that falls below the standard of care.’
      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’
    ‘hanging space below a top storage shelf’
    • ‘Memmel's cast, which had extended to just below her knee, was removed, but she is still on crutches.’
    • ‘Drilled piles were used to extend the load below the expanse of surface soil.’
    • ‘Males and females look the same, with white chins extending up just below the eyes and gray-brown caps.’
    • ‘I had found an exit to the underground facility which led through a tunnel and ended below a janitor's closet.’
    • ‘Rights in possession can extend both below the surface of the land and to the airspace above it.’
    • ‘The acromion is hook-like and extends below the glenoid as in modern mammals.’
    • ‘His target now was the doorway two floors below, straight underneath where he stood.’
    • ‘Catwalks extended across the open spaces below me which were filled with machinery of different kinds.’
    • ‘During the First World War 12,000 Allied soldiers sweated and tunnelled below the town.’
    • ‘She looked down toward the ground and noticed a tree branch that extended out below her window.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There is adequate storage below the berths although hanging locker space is limited and there is no wet locker.’
    • ‘Cars would be banished to long tunnels running beneath the complex, and lorries and trucks to an even deeper tunnel network below them.’
    • ‘The team found large hot bubbles extending above and below a disk of gas along the equator of the galaxy.’
    • ‘They extend both above and below the waistline, are wider in the center and taper to points at both ends.’
    • ‘Tunnels and caverns deep below the snowy-white building were the safest place for storing valuables.’
    • ‘Obvious examples are the excavation of building foundation and tunnels that extend below the water-table.’
    • ‘Standing, I shuffled into the kitchen and peered into the space below the sink.’
    • ‘If the canker extends below the soil line, the entire vine must be removed.’
    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’
    • ‘And one, two three....the young giant leapt into the Sea below.’
    • ‘If you slip, you go tumbling over the roof into the expanse below.’
    • ‘So he jumped below and spread the chart of Mag Bay out on the table and yelled soundings and direction to me.’
    • ‘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.’
    further down, lower down, in a lower position, underneath, beneath, downstairs
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 On earth.
      ‘the lot of all that dwells here below’
      • ‘Each of the planets was named after and believed to correspond to a god who ruled various aspects of life here below on Earth.’
      • ‘I have my troubles here below.’
      • ‘This fascination led me to think deeply about the heavens above and the life forms that surround us here below on earth.’
      • ‘The Sun had stood before the planet Saturn and here below on Earth the lead could not manifest its activity.’
      • ‘Would it do any damage to Scripture if we also apply it to all creatures here below?’
    2. 1.2 In hell.
      ‘traitors gnash their teeth below’
      • ‘Passages led from 'the four corners of the earth' to the realm of demons below.’
      • ‘Time to speak the spell and make the benediction to awaken the demons below and use their fiery breath to light the fires.’
      • ‘As soon as the sinner comes up for breath, the demons below thrust him back underneath with their prongs.’
    3. 1.3 Lower than zero (especially zero degrees Fahrenheit) in temperature.
      ‘there's a north wind blowing, and it's 30 below’
      • ‘Clerk of the course Bill Farnsworth took the decision to abandon after temperatures had fallen to below freezing overnight.’
      • ‘I can't even imagine the wind chill being 50 below, with a temp in the mid -30s.’
    4. 1.4 (in printed text) mentioned later or further down on the same page.
      ‘our nutritionist is pictured below right’
      ‘the most common methods are shown below’
      • ‘The table below gives the final rank for India in the Women's World Cup.’
      • ‘These analyses will be elaborated below and subsequently defended against various alternative analyses.’
      • ‘This drops down parallel to another pitch described below and eventually the two merge.’
      • ‘But there are, of course, other tests, apart from the one adopted below and apart from the one that we pressed for.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Examine the vignettes below and then read the discussion that follows.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The tables below rank the retailers in order of the quickest to respond and the friendliest reps.’
      underneath, following, further on, at a later point, in a later place, at the bottom, at the end
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    5. 1.5Nautical Below deck.
      ‘I'll go below and fix us a drink’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I went below to rest, because I would be on watch later.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We did not think it very serious so went below again cursing the iceberg for disturbing us.’

Phrases

  • below (the) ground

    • Beneath the surface of the ground.

      ‘60 feet below ground’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now the sand lies hundreds of feet thick below the 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.’
      • ‘It may not be a great place to work but it beats digging coal 300 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My dad was working in a goldmine 1,200 feet below the ground.’
      • ‘The mines often lie sixty or so feet below the ground.’
      • ‘The miners worked in 100-degree temperatures, 1,000 feet below the ground, in a space they couldn't really stand up in.’
      • ‘The finished museum, with five storeys above ground and one storey below ground, will resemble a huge ship.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Their train stopped in a tunnel just before the station, where the line is 400 feet below ground.’
      • ‘Four means of disposal, surface storage, storage just below ground and two versions of deep subterranean storage, are being considered.’
      • ‘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 map showed that the facility had five floors, extending some sixty feet below ground.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Geopathic Stress is mainly caused by narrow paths of water about 200/300 feet below ground.’
      • ‘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.’
      subterranean, subterrestrial, below ground, buried, sunken, lower-level, basement
      below ground, below the surface, under the earth, in the earth
      View synonyms

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

/bəˈloʊ//bəˈlō/