Definition of below in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /bəˈlō/


1Extending underneath: the tunnel below the crags cables running below the floorboards hanging space below a top storage shelf
More example sentences
  • 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.
beneath, under, underneath, further down than, lower than
2At a lower level or layer than: just below the pocket was a stain blistered skin below his collar
More example sentences
  • There is barely any discernible sensation of the blade below skin level.
  • A deep cut could penetrate to the fatty layer below the skin.
  • As we were driving through Calcutta, my friend pointed to a little shrine to a god embedded in a wall just below waist level.
2.1Lower in grade or rank than: they rated its financial soundness below its competitor’s
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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?
lower than, under, inferior to, subordinate to, subservient to
3Lower than (a specified amount, rate, or norm): below average below freezing a dive to below 60 feet
More example sentences
  • Ensure that whatever you do never falls below the standard of your abilities and goals.
  • The RUH Trust however denied liability and claimed her treatment did not fall below an acceptable clinical standard.
  • There are countless examples of conduct by high profile sports stars that fall well below community standards.
less than, lower than, under, not as much as, smaller than


1At a lower level or layer: he jumped from the window into the moat below
More example sentences
  • 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.
further down, lower down, in a lower position, underneath, beneath
1.1On earth: the lot of all that dwells here below
More example sentences
  • 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?
1.2In hell: traitors gnash their teeth below
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Passages led from 'the four corners of the earth' to the realm of demons below.
1.3Lower than zero (especially zero degrees Fahrenheit) in temperature: there’s a north wind blowing, and it’s 30 below
More example sentences
  • 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.
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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • You have the option of clicking on the subjects below or simply reading the interview from the beginning.
underneath, following, further on, at a later point
1.5 Nautical Below deck: I’ll go below and fix us a drink
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • We did not think it very serious so went below again cursing the iceberg for disturbing us.
  • I went below to rest, because I would be on watch later.


below (the) ground

Beneath the surface of the ground: 60 feet below ground
More example sentences
  • The finished museum, with five storeys above ground and one storey below ground, will resemble a huge ship.
  • Working off the ground, below the ground, or with powerful tools and equipment is dangerous work.
  • 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.


Late Middle English (as an adverb): from be- 'by' + the adjective low1. Not common until the 16th century, the word developed a prepositional use and was frequent in Shakespeare.

Words that rhyme with below

aglow, ago, alow, although, apropos, art nouveau, Bamako, Bardot, beau, Beaujolais Nouveau, bestow, blow, bo, Boileau, bons mots, Bordeaux, Bow, bravo, bro, cachepot, cheerio, Coe, crow, Defoe, de trop, doe, doh, dos-à-dos, do-si-do, dough, dzo, Flo, floe, flow, foe, foreknow, foreshow, forgo, Foucault, froe, glow, go, good-oh, go-slow, grow, gung-ho, Heathrow, heave-ho, heigh-ho, hello, ho, hoe, ho-ho, jo, Joe, kayo, know, lo, low, maillot, malapropos, Marceau, mho, Miró, mo, Mohs, Monroe, mot, mow, Munro, no, Noh, no-show, oh, oho, outgo, outgrow, owe, Perrault, pho, po, Poe, pro, quid pro quo, reshow, righto, roe, Rouault, row, Rowe, sew, shew, show, sloe, slow, snow, so, soh, sow, status quo, stow, Stowe, strow, tally-ho, though, throw, tic-tac-toe, to-and-fro, toe, touch-and-go, tow, trow, undergo, undersow, voe, whacko, whoa, wo, woe, Xuzhou, yo, yo-ho-ho, Zhengzhou, Zhou

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: be·low

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.