lie low


1 [loh]
adjective, lower, lowest.
situated, placed, or occurring not far above the ground, floor, or base: a low shelf.
of small extent upward; not high or tall: A low wall surrounds the property.
not far above the horizon, as a planet: The moon was low in the sky.
lying or being below the general level: low ground.
designating or pertaining to regions near sea level, especially near the sea: low countries.
bending or passing far downward; deep: a low bow.
(of a garment) low-necked; décolleté: The dress she wore was fashionably low.
rising but slightly from a surface: a low relief on a frieze.
of less than average or normal height or depth, as a liquid or stream: The river is low this time of year.
near the first of a series: a low number.
ranked near the beginning or bottom on some scale of measurement: a low income bracket.
indicating the bottom or the point farthest down: the low point in his creative life.
lacking in strength, energy, or vigor; feeble; weak: to feel low and listless.
providing little nourishment or strength, as a diet.
of small number, amount, degree, force, intensity, etc.: low visibility; a generator with a low output.
indicated or represented by a low number: A low latitude is one relatively near the equator.
soft: subdued; not loud: a low murmur.
Music. produced by relatively slow vibrations, as sounds; grave in pitch.
assigning or attributing little worth, value, excellence, or the like: a low estimate of a new book.
containing a relatively small amount: a diet low in starches.
nearing depletion; not adequately supplied: low on funds; Our stock of towels is low.
depressed or dejected: low spirits.
far down in the scale of rank or estimation; humble: of low birth.
of inferior quality or character: a low grade of fabric; a low type of intellect.
lacking in dignity or elevation, as of thought or expression.
mean, base, or disreputable: low tricks; low companions.
coarse or vulgar: entertainment of a low sort.
Boxing. struck or delivered below a contestant's belt.
Biology. having a relatively simple structure; not complex in organization.
Phonetics. (of a vowel) articulated with a relatively large opening above the tongue, as the vowels of hat, hut, hot, ought, etc. Compare high ( def 23 ).
Automotive. of, pertaining to, or operating at the gear transmission ratio at which the drive shaft moves at the lowest speed with relation to the speed of the engine crankshaft, used especially for temporarily overcoming the weight or inertia of the vehicle; first: low gear.
Baseball. (of a pitched ball) passing the plate at a level below that of the batter's knees: a low curve.
Cards. having less value than other cards: a low card.
Metallurgy. having a relatively small amount of a specified constituent (usually used in combination): low-carbon steel.
Chiefly British. holding to Low Church principles and practices.
adverb, lower, lowest.
in or to a low position, point, degree, etc.: The raiders crouched low in the bushes.
near the ground, floor, or base; not aloft: The plane flew low.
in or to a humble or abject state: Some live low while others live high. She swore she would bring him low.
in or to a condition of depletion, prostration, or death: The gas in the tank is running low.
at comparatively small cost; cheaply: to buy something low and sell it high.
at or to a low pitch, volume, intensity, etc.: to turn the radio low; lights turned down low.
in a low tone; softly; quietly; to speak low.
Archaic. far down in time; late.
something that is low, as ground or prices: numerous marshy lows in the forest; the recent low in the stock market.
Automotive. low gear; first gear.
Meteorology. an atmospheric low-pressure system; cyclone. Compare high ( def 37 ).
the lowest trump card.
a card of small value, or of lower value than other cards.
the lowest score in a game.
a player having such a score.
a point of deepest decline, vulgarity, etc.: a new low in tastelessness.
Slang. a period of intense depression or discomfort, when the effects of a drug have subsided.
lay low,
to overpower or kill; defeat: to lay one's attackers low.
to knock down; make prostrate.
Informal. to lie low.
lie low,
to conceal oneself: He had to lie low for a while.
to do nothing until the right opportunity develops; bide one's time: Until the dispute is settled, you would do best to lie low.

1125–75; Middle English lowe, lohe (adj. and noun), earlier lāh < Old Norse lāgr (adj.); cognate with Old Frisian lēge, lēch, Dutch laag, Old High German laege; akin to lie2

lowish, adjective
lowness, noun
overlowness, noun

13. exhausted, sinking, expiring, dying. 17. quiet. 18. deep. 22. dispirited, unhappy, sad. 23. lowly, meek, obscure. 26. ignoble, degraded, servile. 27. rude, crude. See mean2.

1–3. high. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
low1 (ləʊ)
1.  having a relatively small distance from base to top; not tall or high: a low hill; a low building
2.  a.  situated at a relatively short distance above the ground, sea level, the horizon, or other reference position: low cloud
 b.  (in combination): low-lying
3.  a.  involving or containing a relatively small amount of something: a low supply
 b.  (in combination): low-pressure
4.  a.  having little value or quality
 b.  (in combination): low-grade
5.  of less than the usual or expected height, depth, or degree: low temperature
6.  a.  (of numbers) small
 b.  (of measurements) expressed in small numbers
7.  unfavourable: a low opinion
8.  not advanced in evolution: a low form of plant life
9.  deep: a low obeisance
10.  coarse or vulgar: a low conversation
11.  a.  inferior in culture or status
 b.  (in combination): low-class
12.  in a physically or mentally depressed or weakened state
13.  designed so as to reveal the wearer's neck and part of the bosom: a low neckline
14.  with a hushed tone; quiet or soft: a low whisper
15.  of relatively small price or monetary value: low cost
16.  music relating to or characterized by a relatively low pitch
17.  (of latitudes) situated not far north or south of the equator
18.  having little or no money
19.  abject or servile
20.  phonetics Compare high of, relating to, or denoting a vowel whose articulation is produced by moving the back of the tongue away from the soft palate or the blade away from the hard palate, such as for the a in English father
21.  (of a gear) providing a relatively low forward speed for a given engine speed
22.  (usually capital) of or relating to the Low Church
23.  in a low position, level, degree, intensity, etc: to bring someone low
24.  at a low pitch; deep: to sing low
25.  at a low price; cheaply: to buy low
26.  lay low
 a.  to cause to fall by a blow
 b.  to overcome, defeat or destroy
27.  lie low
 a.  to keep or be concealed or quiet
 b.  to wait for a favourable opportunity
28.  a low position, level, or degree: an all-time low
29.  an area of relatively low atmospheric pressure, esp a depression
30.  electronics Compare high the voltage level in a logic circuit corresponding to logical zero
[C12 lāh, from Old Norse lāgr; related to Old Frisian lēch low, Dutch laag]

low2 (ləʊ)
1.  the sound uttered by cattle; moo
2.  to make or express by a low or moo
[Old English hlōwan; related to Dutch loeien, Old Saxon hlōian]

Low (ləʊ)
See blimp Sir David. 1891--1963, British political cartoonist, born in New Zealand: created Colonel Blimp

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

M.E. lah (mid-12c.), from O.N. lagr "low," from P.Gmc. *lægaz (cf. O.Fris. lech, Du. laag, Ger. läge "low"), lit. "that which is lying flat;" related to O.E. licgan (see lie (v.)). Meaning "humble in rank" is from c.1200; "undignified" is from 1550s; sense of "dejected,
dispirited" is attested from 1737. In reference to sounds, it is attested from early 15c. In geographical usage, it refers to the part of a country near the sea-shore (c.1300; cf. Low Countries "Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg," 1540s).

O.E. hlowan "make a noise like a cow," from P.Gmc. *khlo- (cf. M.Du. loeyen, O.H.G. hluojen), from onomatopoeic PIE base *kla- (see claim).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

lie low

Also lay low. Keep oneself or one's plans hidden; bide one's time to act. For example, The children lay low, hoping their prank would soon be forgotten, or The senator decided to lay low until his opponent had committed herself to raising taxes. This expression calls up the image of a hunter concealed in the brush, waiting for game. [Colloquial; late 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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