There are 2 definitions of low in English:

low1

Line breaks: low
Pronunciation: /ləʊ
 
/

adjective

1Of less than average height from top to bottom or to the top from the ground: the school is a long, low building a low table
More example sentences
  • At the sunlit front of the shed, an artisan sat cross-legged on the ground, a low table before him.
  • To provide a summer screen for dustbins, or simply to increase the height of a low fence, plant Jerusalem artichokes.
  • The tables were low and a lot of the men had to hunch over to eat.
Synonyms
1.1Situated not far above the ground, the horizon, or sea level: the sun was low in the sky
More example sentences
  • The guest room in the middle of the hallway had a low, almost horizontal ceiling on one end.
  • Pruning is done after flowering with stems being taken back to just above a low growth point.
  • The room was quite big, but the ceiling was quite low, about three or four feet above her head.
Synonyms
1.2Located at or near the bottom of something: low back pain he smashed a pane low down in the window
More example sentences
  • Most back pain sufferers have pain of varying degrees of intensity located in the low back.
  • Most patients can get treatment immediately, such as those with headache, tennis elbow or low back pain.
  • The rapidly rising numbers of people with low back pain, for example, implies a sociological rather than biological cause.
1.3(Of women’s clothing) cut so as to reveal the neck and the upper part of the breasts: the low neckline of her blouse [in combination]: a low-cut black dress
More example sentences
  • The neckline of the dress is very low, and her brown hair tumbles over her bare shoulders.
  • Her skirt was barely covering her rear and her shirt was low enough to show the lace on her bra.
  • The neckline was low and open to reveal her collarbone and a little bit of cleavage.
Synonyms
1.4(Of latitude) near the equator: the warming effect will be greatest at low latitudes
More example sentences
  • Generally, it is agreed that such stars need to be low in latitude and near the ecliptic.
  • The site must be low in latitude as well, so that solar panels can get the most intense sunlight possible.
1.5 Phonetics (Of a vowel) pronounced with the tongue held low in the mouth; open.
2Below average in amount, extent, or intensity: bringing up children on a low income borrowing fell to a low level cook over low heat
More example sentences
  • The primary reason for this was the low level of disposable income.
  • One of the main problems we have is the low level of income at which single people become liable at the top tax rate.
  • There was also a low level of disabled staff in the workforce.
Synonyms
2.1(Of a river or lake) below the usual water level: the river was low
More example sentences
  • When the river is very low and the pool is not fishable it is usually possible to walk out into the middle of the river and fish directly into the deep water channel.
  • After about 300 yards, you reach stepping stones across the Water of Ken, which can be crossed if the river is low enough.
  • They're the very months that environmentalists will tell you that the river was traditionally low.
2.2(Of a substance or food) containing smaller quantities than usual of a specified ingredient: vegetables are low in calories [in combination]: low-fat spreads
More example sentences
  • Check the actual fat grams per serving to determine whether a food is truly low in fat.
  • Most processed foods are very low in antioxidants as they are removed during manufacture.
  • The diet is low in fat which, research shows, is a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off.
2.3(Of a supply) small or reduced in quantity: food and ammunition were running low
More example sentences
  • Bryan and Laura were chatting while Michelle talked with Nikki about our low supplies.
  • Given the already low supply, some towns reportedly did not have any plywood left to sell.
  • Their ammunition and other supplies were low, but the job had to be done.
Synonyms
2.4Having a small or reduced quantity of a supply: they were low on fuel
More example sentences
  • Merchants had run dramatically low on supplies, causing high prices on simple things.
  • If someone's bucket was low on squid, the folks with good catches poured in a few.
  • It probably helps that it's a squad conspicuously low on superstars.
3Ranking below other people or things in importance or class: jobs with low status training will be given low priority
More example sentences
  • When members of the public make a complaint, they are classed as low priority and have to wait until more serious crimes are dealt with.
  • One class of the population is too high to be reached by the preacher; and the other class is too low to be cared for by the preacher.
  • He had too much on his mind and too many things to do than get apologies from the low classes.
Synonyms
humble, lowly, low-born, low-bred, low-ranking, plebeian, proletarian, peasant, poor; common, ordinary, simple, plain, unpretentious; inferior, subordinate
3.1(Of art or culture) considered to be inferior in quality and refinement: the dual traditions of high and low art
More example sentences
  • This was a right old mishmash of high art and low culture, sport and theatre.
  • There was high art and low art, and they never met, like rail tracks.
  • There is plenty of low art around, and a huge demand for it.
Synonyms
3.2Less good than is expected or desired; inferior: the standard of living is low
More example sentences
  • The mark up and transportation costs may overprice the product, while at the same time its quality may be low.
  • This has led to the low quality of most of this sector's products, and hence its decreased credibility.
  • But today, low quality is often presented as a justification for speech regulation.
Synonyms
3.3Unscrupulous or dishonest: practise a little low cunning
More example sentences
  • The Liberal Party has always been a mix of idealism, pragmatism, opportunism and low cunning.
  • But in the end he lacked the sagacity or the low cunning to do the one thing necessary.
  • He was the personification of the kind of low cunning to which Nixon himself aspired but could never quite achieve.
Synonyms
despicable, contemptible, reprehensible, lamentable, disgusting, shameful, mean, abject, unworthy, shabby, uncharitable, base, dishonourable, unprincipled, ignoble, sordid, wretched; nasty, cruel, foul, bad, wrong, immoral, vile
informal rotten, beastly, low-down
archaic dastardly, scurvy
3.4(Of an opinion) unfavourable: he had a low opinion of himself
More example sentences
  • Another aspect of Germany's malaise, however, is the low opinion the public has of its politicians.
  • A recent Gallup poll showed that the American public has a very low opinion of journalists.
  • People on the whole have a low opinion of their political representatives.
Synonyms
unfavourable, poor, bad, adverse, negative, hostile
4(Of a sound or voice) not loud or high: keep the volume very low his low, husky voice
More example sentences
  • His voice was low and loud, like a volcanic eruption sounds from inside the volcano.
  • Her voice is wonderfully low and husky, perfect for a night full of regret, anger and crying.
  • The voice was low and sounded somewhat familiar in that strange sort of way.
Synonyms
5Depressed or lacking in energy: I was feeling low
More example sentences
  • In any community, there are lots of people who are in trouble, who feel depressed and low.
  • As low, dejected and depressed as she'd ever felt, she began to get the morning's activities prepared.
Synonyms

noun

Back to top  
1A low point, level, or figure: his popularity ratings are at an all-time low
More example sentences
  • Companies are also scurrying to rebuild depleted inventories, as stock levels sink to record lows in relation to sales.
  • Electoral support for the two parties has dropped to all-time lows, with record numbers of people expressing their disgust by voting for Independents or minor parties.
  • In 2001, many Costa Rican coffee farmers were forced off their land and into poverty when coffee prices plummeted to record lows.
Synonyms
nadir, low point, lowest point, all-time low, lowest level, low-water mark, bottom, rock bottom
1.1An area of low barometric pressure; a depression: the weatherman talked about highs and lows
More example sentences
  • This may sometimes be associated with a tropical cyclone or a monsoon low.
  • People who know about thermal lows and high pressure in cold air often jump to the conclusion that warm air means low pressure and cold air means high.
  • The powerful winds that accompany tropical cyclones and east coast lows can and do generate huge waves.
2A difficult time in a person’s life: the highs and lows of an actor’s life
More example sentences
  • I survived 20 years as an actor, with a few highs and a lot of lows.
  • The highs and lows of this person's love life may be difficult for them to handle.
  • It's caused by the male hormone testosterone fluctuating, and highs and lows are perfectly normal at his age.
2.1 informal A state of depression: she doesn’t have big highs or big lows
More example sentences
  • Playing for England provided yet bigger highs and lows.
  • A recent study showed that lamotrigine not only delays the time to any mood events but is notably effective against the depressive lows of bipolar illness.
  • As much as any other task an entrepreneur must face, she must deal with these manic highs and depressing lows.

adverb

Back to top  
1In or into a low position or state: she pressed on, bent low to protect her face
More example sentences
  • It was flying very low and momentarily disappeared into a valley.
  • We lived because someone made holes with a machine gun, though they were shooting low and still more died from the bullets.
  • If river levels sink too low, barges could be grounded and agriculture thrown into chaos.
2In a low voice or at a low pitch: we were talking low so we wouldn’t wake Dean

Origin

Middle English: from Old Norse lágr, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch laag, also to lie1.

Phrases

the lowest of the low

The people regarded as the most immoral or socially inferior of all: child molesters are the lowest of the low
More example sentences
  • To steal from the dead is the lowest of the low - it just doesn't get any lower than that.
  • For someone to do such a thing - I think they are the lowest of the low.
  • We know that in the criminal fraternity attacks on the elderly and infirm are seen as the lowest of the low.

Derivatives

lowish

adjective
More example sentences
  • I take my daily aspirin dutifully, along with my anti-cholesterol tablet, and I generally stick to a sensible diet, lowish in fat, practically devoid of refined sugar, and high in vegetables and fruit.
  • The greatest risk appears to be in people whose top number on the blood pressure machine is high, the systolic pressure, while the bottom number, the diastolic, may be on the lowish side.
  • We have imported from the US a moral appendage to our lowish tax economy that involves the government encouraging people to take more control over certain aspects of their lives.

lowness

noun
More example sentences
  • In regard to its meanings, it indicates lowness, coarseness, or commonplace mentality.
  • It was also possible to walk on the sands as far as the spitals on Filey Brig, a statement which would give visitors an idea of the extraordinary lowness of the tide.
  • What about the callousness and lowness of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs in sufficient quantity soon to prove fatal?

Definition of low in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day nous
Pronunciation: naʊs
noun
common sense; practical intelligence

There are 2 definitions of low in English:

low2

Line breaks: low
Pronunciation: /ləʊ
 
/

verb

[no object]
(Of a cow) make a characteristic deep sound: the cocks were crowing, the cows lowing (as noun lowing) the lowing of cattle
More example sentences
  • Cows lowed in their fields and dogs barked as children dashed through the street, weaving their way through the people that were now out.
  • I could hear the milk-maids' buckets clatter, the cows lowing in the dell, and the indentured servant boy's tortured cries as he was being flogged.
  • The three men always fell asleep to the sound of horses whickering from the nearby corral and the cattle lowing on the plains.
Synonyms

noun

Back to top  
A sound made by cattle; a moo.

Origin

Old English hlōwan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch loeien, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin clamare 'to shout'.

Definition of low in: