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adj. low·li·er, low·li·est
1. Having or suited for a low rank or position.
2. Humble or meek in manner.
3. Plain or prosaic in nature.
1. In a low manner, condition, or position.
2. In a meek or humble manner.
3. Low in sound.

low′li·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


adj, -lier or -liest
1. humble or low in position, rank, status, etc
2. full of humility; meek
3. simple, unpretentious, or plain
in a low or lowly manner
ˈlowliness n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈloʊ li)

adj. -li•er, -li•est,
adv. adj.
1. humble in station, condition, or nature: a lowly cottage.
2. low in growth or position.
3. humble in attitude, behavior, or spirit; meek.
4. in a low position, manner, or degree: a lowly placed shelf.
5. humbly.
6. in a quiet voice: to converse lowly.
low′li•ly, adv.
low′li•ness, n.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. 'low'

Low can be an adjective or an adverb.

Something that is low measures a short distance from the bottom to the top.

...a low brick wall.
...low hills.

You also say that something is low when it is very close to the ground.

She made a low curtsey.
He bumped his head on the low beams.

You can use low as an adverb to say that something moves close to the ground. For example, you can say 'He bowed low'.

I asked him to fly low over the beach.

Low also means 'small in amount, value, or degree'.

...workers on low incomes.
...low expectations.

Low is not an adverb with this meaning, except in front of paid.

We must make low-paid work more attractive than welfare.

Like the adjective, the adverb low has the comparative and superlative forms lower, lowest.

In a series of quick, jerky movements he bent lower and lower.
...the lowest paid workers in the country.
2. 'lowly'

Lowly is an adjective. It is a literary word meaning 'low in rank, status, or importance'.

...a lowly employee.
...his lowly social origins.

The comparative and superlative forms of lowly are lowlier and lowliest.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.lowly - low or inferior in station or qualitylowly - low or inferior in station or quality; "a humble cottage"; "a lowly parish priest"; "a modest man of the people"; "small beginnings"
inferior - of or characteristic of low rank or importance
2.lowly - inferior in rank or status; "the junior faculty"; "a lowly corporal"; "petty officialdom"; "a subordinate functionary"
junior - younger; lower in rank; shorter in length of tenure or service
3.lowly - used of unskilled work (especially domestic work)lowly - used of unskilled work (especially domestic work)
unskilled - not having or showing or requiring special skill or proficiency; "unskilled in the art of rhetoric"; "an enthusiastic but unskillful mountain climber"; "unskilled labor"; "workers in unskilled occupations are finding fewer and fewer job opportunities"; "unskilled workmanship"
4.lowly - of low birth or station (`base' is archaic in this sense)lowly - of low birth or station (`base' is archaic in this sense); "baseborn wretches with dirty faces"; "of humble (or lowly) birth"
lowborn - of humble birth or origins; "a topsy-turvy society of lowborn rich and blue-blooded poor"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. lowborn, obscure, subordinate, inferior, mean, proletarian, ignoble, plebeian lowly bureaucrats pretending to be senators
2. unpretentious, common, poor, average, simple, ordinary, plain, modest, homespun He started out as a lowly photographer.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. Lacking high station or birth:
Archaic: base.
2. Of little distinction:
3. Having or expressing feelings of humility:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
مُتَواضِع، وَضيع
lágt settur
alçak gönüllüastküçük rütbeli


[ˈləʊlɪ] ADJ (lowlier (compar) (lowliest (superl))) → humilde
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈləʊli] adjhumble, modestelow-lying [ˌləʊˈlaɪɪŋ] adj [land] → à basse altitudelow-paid [ˌləʊˈpeɪd] adj [worker] → au salaire bas; [job] → peu rémunéré(e)low-pitched [ˌləʊˈpɪtʃt] adj
(= deep) → bas(basse), grave
(= quiet) [voice] → bas(basse)low-powered [ˌləʊˈpaʊərd] adjde faible puissancelow-pressure [ˌləʊˈprɛʃər] adjà basse pressionlow-profile [ˌləʊˈprəʊfaɪl] adjdiscret/ètelow-quality [ˌləʊˈkwɒlɪti] adj [goods] → de qualité inférieurelow-rent [ˌləʊˈrɛnt] adj
[housing] → à loyer modéré
(of poor quality)de second ordrelow-rise [ˌləʊˈraɪz] adj [flats, building] → bas(basse)low season (British)
nbasse saison f
in the low season → en basse saison
modif [rates, holiday] → pendant la basse saisonlow-slung [ˌləʊˈslʌŋ] adj
[chair] → bas(basse)
[sports car] → surbaissé(e)low-tar [ˌləʊˈtɑːr] adj [cigarette] → à faible teneur en goudronlow-tech [ˌləʊˈtɛk] adjsommairelow tide nmarée f basse
at low tide → à marée basselow water nmarée f basselow-water mark nlaisse f de basse mer
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


adj (+er)bescheiden; position, birth alsoniedrig
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈləʊlɪ] adjmodesto/a, umile
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ləu) adjective
1. not at or reaching up to a great distance from the ground, sea-level etc. low hills; a low ceiling; This chair is too low for the child.
2. making little sound; not loud. She spoke in a low voice.
3. at the bottom of the range of musical sounds. That note is too low for a female voice.
4. small. a low price.
5. not strong; weak or feeble. The fire was very low.
6. near the bottom in grade, rank, class etc. low temperatures; the lower classes.
in or to a low position, manner or state. The ball flew low over the net.
ˈlower verb
1. to make or become less high. She lowered her voice.
2. to let down. He lowered the blinds.
ˈlowly adjective
of low rank; humble.
ˈlowliness noun
ˈlow-down adjective
mean; contemptible. a low-down thief.
ˈlowland adjective
of or concerning lowlands. lowland districts.
ˈlowlander noun
a person who lives in the lowlands.
ˈlowlands noun plural
land which is low compared with other, higher land.
ˈlow-lying adjective
(of land) at a height not much above sea-level.
low-ˈtech noun
technology using simple tools and unsophisticated equipment and methods.
low-tech industries/skills.
low tide/water
the time when the sea is lowest at a particular place during ebb-tide. There is three feet of water in the harbour, even at low water.
be low on
not to have enough of. I'll have to go to the supermarket – we're low on coffee and sugar.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
As he passed along, the crowd made lowly prostration before the Image.
The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride - For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies, The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes - The life still there, upon her hair - the death upon her eyes.
It was hard on the stupid lowly, for they were coppered to lose from the start; but the more he saw of the others, the apparent winners, the less it seemed to him that they had anything to brag about.
One of my pieces, which fell so far short of my visionary performances as to treat of the lowly and familiar theme of Spring, was the first thing I ever had in print.
"Whence it arises," he continued, "that when we see any person well dressed and making a figure with rich garments and retinue of servants, it seems to lead and impel us perforce to respect him, though memory may at the same moment recall to us some lowly condition in which we have seen him, but which, whether it may have been poverty or low birth, being now a thing of the past, has no existence; while the only thing that has any existence is what we see before us; and if this person whom fortune has raised from his original lowly state
Thou art but too good a fellow, Starbuck, he said lowly to the mate; then raising his voice to the crew: Furl the t'gallant-sails and close-reef the top-sails, fore and aft; back the main-yard; up Burtons, and break out in the main-hold.
Harriet bore the intelligence very wellblaming nobody and in every thing testifying such an ingenuousness of disposition and lowly opinion of herself, as must appear with particular advantage at that moment to her friend.
Only among the lowly, the unlearned, and the poor was English heard.
Hearing him foolishly fumbling there, the Captain laughs lowly to himself, and mutters something about the doors of convicts' cells being never allowed to be locked within.
But again he leaned over towards the people, and bowing his head lowly, with an aspect of the deepest yet manliest humility, he spake these words: Shipmates, God has laid but one hand upon you; both his hands press upon me.
It is the sordid cares of the lowly born that do these things.
The man who wields the blood- clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus.