Meaning of LOW in English


I. low 1 S1 W1 /ləʊ $ loʊ/ BrE AmE adjective ( comparative lower , superlative lowest )

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ low , ↑ lower , ↑ lowly ; verb : lower; noun : ↑ low ; adverb : ↑ low ]

[ Date: 1100-1200 ; Language: Old Norse ; Origin: lagr ]


a) small, or smaller than usual, in amount, level, or value OPP high

low income/pay/wages

families existing on very low incomes

In May, the price of cocoa fell to its lowest level since 1975–76.

Morale has been low since the latest round of job cuts.

In this sort of investment, the risks are fairly low.

low temperatures

the need for low-cost housing

a low-security prison

b) low in something having less than the usual amount of a substance or chemical OPP high :

food that is low in calories

low-fat/low-salt etc

low-alcohol beer

c) in the low 20s/50s etc if a number, temperature, or level is in the low 20s, 30s etc, it is between 21 and 23, 31 and 33 etc:

Tonight, temperatures in most areas will be in the low 50s.

2 .


a) having a top that is not far above the ground OPP high :

a low wall

a long low building

b) at a point that is not far above the ground or near the bottom of something OPP high :

low clouds

The sun was low in the sky now.

Store raw meat on the lowest shelf.

c) below the usual height OPP high :

a low bridge

a low ceiling

The river is very low today.

3 . STANDARDS/QUALITY bad, or below an acceptable or usual level or quality SYN poor OPP high :

Their safety standards seem to be pretty low.

Cost-cutting has led to a lower quality of service.

the children’s low achievement in school

4 . SUPPLY if you are low on something, or if your supply of something is low, there is not much of it left

be/get/run low (on something)

We’re running low on gas.

Stocks are getting low.


a) not loud:

I heard a low moaning noise.

The volume is too low – turn it up.

a low whisper

b) not high:

a low note

6 . LIGHT a light that is low is not bright SYN dim :

Use low lighting to give the room a romantic atmosphere.

7 . HEAT if you cook something over a low heat or in a low ↑ oven , you cook it using only a small amount of heat OPP high

8 . BATTERY a ↑ battery that is low does not have much power left in it

9 . CLOTHES a low dress, ↑ blouse etc does not cover your neck and the top of your chest ⇨ low-cut

10 . UNHAPPY [not before noun] unhappy and without much hope for the future SYN depressed :

He was feeling a bit low, so I did my best to cheer him up.

Terry seems to be in rather low spirits today.

⇨ be at a low ebb at ↑ ebb 1 (2)

—lowness noun [uncountable]

• • •


■ voices/sounds that are not high

▪ low a low voice or sound is not high on the scale of musical sounds:

I can’t sing the low notes.


He’s got quite a low singing voice.


Boys’ voices usually become much lower as they get older.

▪ deep a deep voice or sound is low, strong, and pleasant:

He has a lovely deep voice.


The engine has a wonderfully deep sound to it, like it’s ready to race.

▪ husky a husky voice is deep, quiet, and rough-sounding, especially in a way that is attractive:

Monroe sang 'Happy Birthday, Mr President’ in a slow husky voice.


His voice dropped to a husky whisper.

▪ gravelly a gravelly voice is very low and rough sounding:

The singer is famous for his gravelly voice.

II. low 2 BrE AmE adverb ( comparative lower , superlative lowest )

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ low , ↑ lower , ↑ lowly ; verb : lower; noun : ↑ low ; adverb : ↑ low ]

1 . in or to a low position or level:

He bent low over the engine.

She pulled her hat low down over her eyes.

I had the radio on low.

2 . near the ground or the bottom of something:

That plane’s flying too low!

There was a hole low down in the hedge.

3 . if you play or sing musical notes low, you play or sing them with deep notes:

Sing those bars an octave lower.

4 . be brought low old-fashioned to become much less rich or important

⇨ search/look high and low at ↑ high 2 (6), ⇨ lay somebody low at ↑ lay 2 (20), ⇨ lie low at ↑ lie 1 (7)

III. low 3 BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ low , ↑ lower , ↑ lowly ; verb : lower; noun : ↑ low ; adverb : ↑ low ]

1 . a low price, level, or value OPP high

fall to/hit/reach etc a new low (=be worth less than ever before)

The euro has fallen to a new low against the dollar.

Public confidence in the legal system is at an all-time low (=much lower or worse than ever before) .

2 . a very difficult time in someone’s personal or working life

highs and lows (of something) (=good times and bad times)

the highs and lows of an actor’s life

3 .

a) the lowest point that the temperature reaches during a particular time OPP high :

The overnight low will be 8°C.

b) an area of low pressure in the air OPP high :

a low moving in over the Pacific

4 . the lowest of the low

a) informal someone you think is completely unfair, cruel, immoral etc

b) someone from a low social class – often used humorously

IV. low 4 BrE AmE verb [intransitive] literary

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: hlowan ]

if cattle low, they make a deep sound

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.