low 1 (lō)
adj. low·er, low·est
a. Having little relative height; not high or tall: a low wall.
b. Rising only slightly above surrounding surfaces: a low hill.
c. Near to the ground or the horizon: The low clouds threaten rain. The sun is low.
d. Situated or placed below normal height: a low lighting fixture.
e. Situated below the surrounding surfaces: water standing in low spots.
f. Of less than usual or average depth; shallow: The river is low.
g. Cut to show the wearer's neck and chest; décolleté: a low neckline.
h. Close or closer to a reference point: was low in the offensive zone, near the goal.
i. Linguistics Produced with part or all of the tongue depressed, as a, pronounced (ä), in father. Used of vowels.
a. Below average in degree, intensity, or amount: a low temperature.
b. Below an average or a standard: low wages; a low level of communication.
c. Ranked near the beginning of an ascending series or scale: a low number; a low grade of oil.
d. Relating to or being latitudes nearest to the equator.
e. Relatively small. Used of a cost, price, or other value: a low fee; a low income.
a. Not loud; soft: a low murmur.
b. Having a pitch corresponding to a relatively small number of sound-wave cycles per second.
4. Below others in status or rank; lowly: of low birth.
a. Violating standards of morality or decency; base: a low stunt to pull. See Synonyms at base2.
b. Unrefined; coarse: low humor.
a. Being near depletion: My savings account is low.
b. Not adequately provided or equipped; short: low on supplies.
a. Lacking strength or vigor; weak: a patient whose condition is low.
b. Lacking liveliness or good spirits; discouraged or dejected: feeling low after losing the game.
8. Depreciatory; disparaging: a low opinion of him.
9. Of, relating to, or being the gear configuration or setting, as in an automotive transmission, that produces the least vehicular speed with respect to engine speed.
adv. low·er, low·est
a. In or to a low position, level, or space: aimed low; bent low.
b. In or to a low condition or rank; humbly: thought low of himself.
2. In or to a reduced, humbled, or degraded condition: brought low by failure.
3. Softly; quietly: speak low.
4. With a deep pitch: sang low.
5. At a small price: bought low and sold high.
1. A low level, position, or degree: Rain collects in the lows. The stock market fell to a new low.
2. Meteorology A region of atmospheric pressure that is below normal.
3. The low gear configuration of a transmission.
[Middle English loue, from Old Norse lāgr; see legh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.