from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The lowest sill, block, or timber supporting a building, located at or below ground level.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The lowest sill of a structure, usually placed in or on the ground.
- n. A particularly low or dirty place/state; the nadir of something (see rock bottom)
- n. A person of low status or humble provenance.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The lowest sill of a structure, usually embedded in the soil; the lowest timber of a house; also, that sill or timber of a bridge which is laid at the bottom of the water. See sill.
- n. Fig.: A person of the lowest stratum of society; -- a term of opprobrium or contempt.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The lowest sill of a structure, resting on the ground.
- n. A lowborn, ignorant, contemptible person.
- n. Specifically, the bed-piece or bottom timber of a dam placed across the stream and usually resting on rocks or in mud.
"1685, 'lowest sill of a house,' from mud + sill. The word entered U.S. political history in a speech by James M. Hammond of South Carolina, March 4, 1858, in U.S. Senate, alluding to the very mudsills of society, and the term subsequently was embraced by Northern workers in the pre-Civil War sectional rivalry." (OED, 2007) (Wiktionary)