Also found in: Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


adv. or down·wards (-wərdz)
1. In, to, or toward a lower place, level, or position: floating downward.
2. Toward a lower position in a hierarchy or on a socioeconomic scale: slid downward into poverty.
3. Toward the feet or lower parts: clothed from the waist downward.
4. Toward a lower amount, degree, or rank: stocks plummeted downward.
5. From a prior source or earlier time: passed downward through the ages.
Directed toward a lower place or position: downward movement.

down′ward·ly adv.


(ˈdaʊnwədz) or


1. from a higher to a lower place, level, etc
2. from an earlier time or source to a later: from the Tudors downwards.


1. 'downwards'

In British English, if you move or look downwards, you move or look towards the ground or the floor.

...a lift that is plummeting downwards at speed.
She gazed downwards.

Downwards is only used as an adverb.

2. 'downward'

Speakers of American English usually say downward instead of 'downwards'.

The blood from the wound spread downward.
He kept his head on one side as he spoke, looking downward.

In both British and American English, downward is an adjective. A downward movement or look is one in which someone or something moves or looks downwards.

She made a bold downward stroke with the paintbrush.
...a downward glance.

When downward is an adjective, you can only use it in front of a noun.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.downwards - spatially or metaphorically from a higher to a lower level or position; "don't fall down"; "rode the lift up and skied down"; "prices plunged downward"
up, upward, upwardly, upwards - spatially or metaphorically from a lower to a higher position; "look up!"; "the music surged up"; "the fragments flew upwards"; "prices soared upwards"; "upwardly mobile"


[ˈdaʊnwərdz] adv
[move, look] [person] → vers le bas
face downwards → à plat ventre
to move downwards (= decrease) [amount, rate] → baisser
from sb downwards
everyone from the Prime Minister downwards → tout le monde, le premier ministre en tête
References in classic literature ?
Upon placing the magnet erect, with its attracting end towards the earth, the island descends; but when the repelling extremity points downwards, the island mounts directly upwards.
downwards, it is equally consistent in regarding Homer and Hesiod as `prehistoric'.
As for this last, change in the reverse direction would seem to be most truly its contrary; thus motion upwards is the contrary of motion downwards and vice versa.
His cranial cavity is continuous with the first neck-vertebra; and in that vertebra the bottom of the spinal canal will measure ten inches across, being eight in height, and of a triangular figure with the base downwards.
Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards.
Mukhorty, with the sacking and the breechband twisted round to one side, was standing not in his former place but nearer to the shafts, shaking his head which the reins he was stepping on drew downwards.
Add to this her short nose, her plump cheeks that set wrinkles at defiance, her white hair dressed in stiff little curls; and, if a doll could grow old, Lady Lydiard, at sixty, would have been the living image of that doll, taking life easily on its journey downwards to the prettiest of tombs, in a burial-ground where the myrtles and roses grew all the year round.
Hence our eye is seldom, I am afraid, turned upward to those who are manifestly greater, better, wiser, or happier than ourselves, without some degree of malignity; while we commonly look downwards on the mean and miserable with sufficient benevolence and pity.
But the trouble was that the hysterics could not go on for ever, and (I am writing the loathsome truth) lying face downwards on the sofa with my face thrust into my nasty leather pillow, I began by degrees to be aware of a far-away, involuntary but irresistible feeling that it would be awkward now for me to raise my head and look Liza straight in the face.
Prince Vasili, in the rare moments when he was at home, would take Pierre's hand in passing and draw it downwards, or absent-mindedly hold out his wrinkled, clean-shaven cheek for Pierre to kiss and would say: "Till tomorrow," or, "Be in to dinner or I shall not see you," or, "I am staying in for your sake," and so on.
From Eve downwards, what good hath come from any of them?
Grace being said, -- for those people have their grace as well as we --though Queequeg told me that unlike us, who at such times look downwards to our platters, they, on the contrary, copying the ducks, glance upwards to the great Giver of all feasts --Grace, I say, being said, the High Priest opens the banquet by the immemorial ceremony of the island; that is, dipping his consecrated and consecrating fingers into the bowl before the blessed beverage circulates.