low ( lower comparative) ( lowest superlative) ( lows plural )
1 adj Something that is low measures only a short distance from the bottom to the top, or from the ground to the top.
...the low garden wall that separated the front garden from next door..., She put it down on the low table..., The Leisure Center is a long and low modern building.
2 adj If something is low, it is close to the ground, to sea level, or to the bottom of something.
He bumped his head on the low beams..., It was late afternoon and the sun was low in the sky..., They saw a government war plane make a series of low-level bombing raids.
3 adj When a river is low, it contains less water than usual.
usu v-link ADJ (Antonym: high)
...pumps that guarantee a constant depth of water even when the supplying river is low.
4 adj You can use low to indicate that something is small in amount or that it is at the bottom of a particular scale. You can use phrases such as in the low 80s to indicate that a number or level is less than 85 but not as little as 80., (Antonym: high)
British casualties remained remarkably low..., They are still having to live on very low incomes..., The temperature's in the low 40s.
5 adj Low is used to describe people who are not considered to be very important because they are near the bottom of a particular scale or system.
usu ADJ n (Antonym: high)
She refused to promote Colin above the low rank of `legal adviser'.
6 n-count If something reaches a low of a particular amount or degree, that is the smallest it has ever been.
usu sing, oft N of amount (Antonym: high)
Eventually my weight stabilised at seven and a half stone after dropping to a low of five and a half stone..., The dollar fell to a new low.
7 adj If you drive or ride a bicycle in a low gear, you use a gear, usually first or second, which gives you the most control over your car or bicycle when travelling slowly., (Antonym: high)
She selected a low gear and started down the track carefully.
8 adj If the quality or standard of something is low, it is very poor.
(=poor) (Antonym: high)
A school would not accept low-quality work from any student..., ...low-grade coal.
9 adj If a food or other substance is low in a particular ingredient, it contains only a small amount of that ingredient.
v-link ADJ in n (Antonym: high)
They look for foods that are low in calories.
Low is also a combining form., comb in adj usu ADJ n
...low-sodium tomato sauce..., Low-odour paints help make decorating so much easier.
10 adj If you describe someone such as a student or a worker as a low achiever, you mean that they are not very good at their work, and do not achieve or produce as much as others.
ADJ n (Antonym: high)
Low achievers in schools will receive priority.
11 adj If you have a low opinion of someone or something, you disapprove of them or dislike them., (Antonym: high)
I have an extremely low opinion of the British tabloid newspapers.
12 adj You can use low to describe negative feelings and attitudes.
We are all very tired and morale is low..., People had very low expectations.
13 adj If a sound or noise is low, it is deep.
(=deep) (Antonym: high)
Then suddenly she gave a low, choking moan and began to tremble violently..., My voice has got so low now I was mistaken for a man the other day on the phone.
14 adj If someone's voice is low, it is quiet or soft.
Her voice was so low he had to strain to catch it.
15 adj A light that is low is not bright or strong.
Their eyesight is poor in low light.
16 adj If a radio, oven, or light is on low, it has been adjusted so that only a small amount of sound, heat, or light is produced.
She turned her little kitchen radio on low..., Buy a dimmer switch and keep the light on low, or switch it off altogether..., Cook the sauce over a low heat until it boils and thickens.
17 adj If you are lowon something or if a supply of it is low, there is not much of it left.
v-link ADJ, usu ADJ on n
We're a bit low on bed linen..., World stocks of wheat were getting very low.
18 adj If you are low, you are depressed.
`I didn't ask for this job, you know,' he tells friends when he is low.
20 If you are lying low, you are hiding or not drawing attention to yourself.
lie low phrase V inflects
Far from lying low, Kuti became more outspoken than ever.
to look high and low →
low profile →
to be running low →
Low-cal food is food that contains only a few calories. People who are trying to lose weight eat low-cal food. adj usu ADJ n
Low-cut dresses and blouses do not cover the top part of a woman's chest. adj usu ADJ n
low-down , lowdown
1 n-sing If someone gives you the low-downon a person or thing, they tell you all the important information about them.
INFORMAL the N, oft N on n
We want you to give us the low-down on your team-mates.
2 adj You can use low-down to emphasize how bad, dishonest, or unfair you consider a particular person or their behaviour to be.
INFORMAL ADJ n (emphasis)
...a lowdown, evil drunkard..., They will stoop to every low-down trick.
Low-flying aircraft or birds are flying very close to the ground, or lower than normal. adj ADJ n
1 adj Low-impact exercise does not put a lot of stress on your body.
usu ADJ n (Antonym: high-impact)
2 adj Low-impact projects, developments, and activities such as holidays are designed to cause minimum harm to the environment.
usu ADJ n
...sensitive, enlightened, low-impact ecotourism...
If you say that something is low-key, you mean that it is on a small scale rather than involving a lot of activity or being made to seem impressive or important. adj
The wedding will be a very low-key affair..., He wanted to keep the meetings low-key.
low life , low-life, lowlife
People sometimes use low life to refer in a disapproving way to people who are involved in criminal, dishonest, or immoral activities, or to these activities. n-uncount oft N n (disapproval)
...the sort of low-life characters who populate this film.
Low-lying land is at, near, or below sea level. adj usu ADJ n
Sea walls collapsed, and low-lying areas were flooded.
If you describe someone or their job as low-paid, you mean that their work earns them very little money. adj
...low-paid workers..., The majority of working women are in low-paid jobs.
The low-paid are people who are low-paid., n-plural the N
1 adj A sound that is low-pitched is deep.
With a low-pitched rumbling noise, the propeller began to rotate.
2 adj A voice that is low-pitched is very soft and quiet.
He kept his voice low-pitched in case someone was listening.
1 adj If someone lives in a low-rent house, they only have to pay a small amount of money to live there.
...a low-rent housing development.
2 adj You can use low-rent to describe something that is of poor quality, especially when it is compared with something else., (disapproval)
...a low-rent horror movie.
The low season is the time of year when a place receives the fewest visitors, and fares and holiday accommodation are often cheaper.
(BRIT) n-sing the N
Prices drop to £315 in the low season.
in AM, use off-season
Low-slung chairs or cars are very low, so that you are close to the ground when you are sitting in them. adj usu ADJ n
Low-tech machines or systems are ones that do not use modern or sophisticated technology. adj usu ADJ n (Antonym: hi-tech)
...a simple form of low-tech electric propulsion.
low tide ( low tides plural ) At the coast, low tide is the time when the sea is at its lowest level because the tide is out. n-var oft at N (Antonym: high tide)
The causeway to the island is only accessible at low tide.
Low water is the same as low tide. n-uncount