Definition of below in English:

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Pronunciation: /bɪˈləʊ/


1At a lower level or layer than: just below the pocket was a stain the 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.
1.1Lower in grade or rank than: the aristocracy rank below the monarchy they rated the company’s 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, secondary to, subservient to;
subject to, controlled by, at the mercy of, under the heel of
1.2Lower than (a specified amount or standard): pupils of below average ability below freezing below 50 mph
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, not so much as, smaller than
informal shy of
2Extending underneath: the tunnel below the crags cables running below the floorboards
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


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, downstairs
1.1(In printed text) mentioned further down on the same page, or further on in the text: our nutritionist is pictured below right
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, in a later place, at the bottom, at the end
1.2 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.

below stairs

Pronunciation: /bɪˈləʊ ˌstɛːz/
British dated In the basement of a house as occupied by servants.
Example sentences
  • Servants is a bold and irreverent drama series set below stairs in a country house in 1850s England.
  • And this is less than half the cast, because half the action takes place below stairs, where the servants live.
  • With an obedient nod, she turned for the door that led to the servants' quarters, below stairs.


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

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