from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Fine, soft, fluffy feathers forming the first plumage of a young bird and underlying the contour feathers in certain adult birds.
  • noun Botany A covering of soft, short hairs, as on some leaves or fruit.
  • noun A soft, silky, or feathery substance, such as the first growth of a human beard.
  • adverb From a higher to a lower place or position.
  • adverb Toward, to, or on the ground, floor, or bottom.
  • adverb Downstairs.
  • adverb In or into a sitting, kneeling, or reclining position.
  • adverb In or into one's stomach.
  • adverb In writing or a record.
  • adverb In partial payment at the time of purchase.
  • adverb Into or toward a secure position.
  • adverb Toward or in the south; southward.
  • adverb Away from a place considered central or a center of activity, such as a city or town.
  • adverb To a specific location or source.
  • adverb Toward or at a low or lower point on a scale.
  • adverb From earlier times or people.
  • adverb To or at a lower intensity or amount.
  • adverb To or in a reduced or concentrated form.
  • adverb To or in a quiescent or subdued state.
  • adverb In or into an inactive or inoperative state.
  • adverb To or into a lower or inferior condition, as of subjection, defeat, or disgrace.
  • adverb To an extreme degree; heavily.
  • adverb Seriously or vigorously.
  • adjective Moving or directed downward.
  • adjective Low or lower.
  • adjective Reduced; diminished.
  • adjective Sports & Games Trailing an opponent.
  • adjective Afflicted; sick.
  • adjective Malfunctioning or not operating, especially temporarily.
  • adjective Low in spirits; depressed.
  • adjective Not in play and at the place where offensive forward progress has stopped.
  • adjective Not permitted to advance further in the play because forward progress has stopped, especially by being tackled. Used of a ball carrier.
  • adjective Baseball Retired; out.
  • adjective Completed; done.
  • adjective Learned or known perfectly.
  • preposition In a descending direction along, upon, into, or through.
  • preposition In a sequential or temporal sequence.
  • preposition Along the course of.
  • preposition In or at.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English doun, from Old Norse dūnn.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English doun, from Old English -dūne (as in ofdūne, downwards), from dūne, dative of dūn, hill; see dheuə- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English doune, from Old English dūn, hill; see dheuə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English doun, from Old English dūn, from British Celtic dunon 'hill; hillfort' (compare Welsh din 'hill', Irish dún 'hill, fort'), from Proto-Indo-European *dheue or dhwene. More at town; akin to dune.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Norse dún.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English dūne, aphetic form of adūne, from of dūne ("off the hill").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word down.


  • Promoted to Headline (H3) on 2/13/09: Terrorist in my home town 'with up so floating many bells down' yahooBuzzArticleHeadline = 'Terrorist in my home town \'with up so floating many bells down\' '; yahooBuzzArticleSummary =' Article: An out-of-work truckdriver brought a guitar case into a Unitarian church where I teach, pulled out a shotgun and shot eight people.

    Terrorist in my home town 'with up so floating many bells down' 2009

  • So he crossed the street as Reidi's men passed him and reined in against the wall of the estate next to Lieng, deaf to the hiss of arrows in the clatter of hooves on cobblestone as Reidi's men charged the main gate down the street and then shied off again, leaving a man and two horses down—

    2005 Cherryh, C. J. 2005

  • I nodded off with my head on his chest, thinking I've never been happier, I'll never leave this man, I'll never leave this place, I'll never come down, never come down ... _never come down_.

    Never Come Down Black, Michelle 1996

  •   And I noticed, I started running down, unconsciously making my way down  through the path which I see more clearly now.

    TEDBUNDY Michaud, S G & Aynesworth H 1989

  • Half a dozen paces together with Dirk between them before Michael tripped and fell, dragging Mbenjane down with him, They were a long time rising, all movement slowing down_, when they did they were surrounded. long prongs of flame had reached the area of fallen sapling on either side of them.

    The Sound of Thunder Smith, Wilbur, 1933- 1966

  • "'The boy stood on the burning deck' -- _get down, get down_!" he yelled.

    Half-Past Seven Stories Robert Gordon Anderson

  • The manager screamed at the top of his voice -- "_let down the valve, let it down_!"

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus American Anti-Slavery Society

  • Lord looseth the prisoners; the Lord openeth the eyes of the blind; the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down; the Lord loveth the righteous; the Lord relieveth the fatherless and the widow -- _but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down_.

    Introduction to the Science of Sociology Robert Ezra Park 1926

  • They can't discuss me in the library without breaking down -- (_coming down_ R. _and imitating_ GEORGE _and_ BRIAN) -- so they're walking up and down outside, and slashing at the thistles in order to conceal their emotion.

    Mr. Pim Passes By 1919

  • I'm afraid, Mr. Strange (DINAH _with an exclamation of annoyance comes down to_ L. _of settee_ L.), your morals are as peculiar as your views on Art. BRIAN (_down to back of table_ L.C.).

    Mr. Pim Passes By 1919

  • “Down low” is a cherished concept: secret, alternative, not commercial—everything one wants to be.

    Chloe’s Scene Condé Nast 1994

  • I think being down bad is a term that I would define as someone shooting their shot and embarrassing themselves or someone shooting their shot and it’s just like an unavoidable rejection,” explains Ward.

    What It Means to Be “Down Bad,” And Why It’s Not a Totally Terrible Thing Logan Mahan 2022

  • “I can’t believe how much she’s glowed down,” reads one post – glowed down meaning someone is no longer as attractive.

    ‘People are nasty as hell on there’: the battle to close Tattle – the most hate-filled corner of the web Sirin Kale 2021


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  • where one lays the smack

    November 21, 2007

  • Surprising etymology. The ordinary preposition comes from an Old English and Celtic word dún for "hill". The expression meaning "off-hill" was reduced by omitting the "off" part (it survives in the poetic word adown) till down itself came to mean, well, "down".

    June 2, 2009

  • That is interesting. Its origin seems to survive in place names in Ireland and the UK, at least.

    *giggling at jennarenn's comment*

    June 2, 2009

  • And in faux manor names such as "Upson Downs" (as in Auntie Mame).

    June 2, 2009

  • an undulating generally treeless upland with sparse soil — usually used in plural

    b :plural and often capitalized: treeless chalk uplands along the south and southeast coast of England

    2 :often capitalized : a sheep of any breed originating in the downs of southern England

    --A Word A Day

    May 22, 2013