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

  • adv. From a higher to a lower place or position: hiked down from the peak.
  • adv. Toward, to, or on the ground, floor, or bottom: tripped and fell down.
  • adv. In or into a sitting, kneeling, or reclining position: knelt down; lying down.
  • adv. Toward or in the south; southward: flew down to Florida.
  • adv. Away from a place considered central or a center of activity, such as a city or town: down on the farm; sent down to work at the firm's regional office.
  • adv. Away from the present place.
  • adv. To a specific location or source: tracking a rumor down.
  • adv. Toward or at a low or lower point on a scale: from the biggest down to the smallest.
  • adv. To or in a quiescent or subdued state: calmed down.
  • adv. In or into an inactive or inoperative state: The generators went down at midnight.
  • adv. To or at a lower intensity.
  • adv. To or into a lower or inferior condition, as of subjection, defeat, or disgrace.
  • adv. To an extreme degree; heavily: worn down by worry.
  • adv. Seriously or vigorously: get down to the project at hand.
  • adv. From earlier times or people: tradition handed down from one generation to the next.
  • adv. To a reduced or concentrated form: pared the term paper down to five pages.
  • adv. In writing; on paper: wrote the statement down.
  • adv. In partial payment at the time of purchase: put ten dollars down on the necklace.
  • adv. Into or toward a secure position: nailed down the boards; bolted the furniture down.
  • adj. Moving or directed downward: a down elevator.
  • adj. Low or lower: Stock prices were down today.
  • adj. Reduced; diminished: The wind is down.
  • adj. Afflicted; sick: She's down with a bad cold.
  • adj. Malfunctioning or not operating, especially temporarily: The computer is down.
  • adj. Low in spirits; depressed: feeling down today.
  • adj. Sports & Games Trailing an opponent: a team down 20 points in the last quarter; down two pawns in the endgame.
  • adj. Football Not in play: The ball is down on the 50-yard line.
  • adj. Football Not permitted to advance further in the play because forward progress has stopped, especially by being tackled. Used of a ball carrier.
  • adj. Baseball Retired; out: two down in the last of the ninth.
  • adj. Completed; done: three down, two to go.
  • adj. Learned or known perfectly: had the algebra problems down.
  • adj. Slang Having knowledge of; aware: "He was not, I detected, 'down with the revolution'” ( Clarence Page).
  • adj. Slang Of high quality; excellent.
  • prep. In a descending direction along, upon, into, or through: rolled down the hill; floating down the river; went down cellar.
  • prep. Along the course of: walking down the street.
  • prep. In or at: The cans are stored down cellar.
  • n. A downward movement; descent.
  • n. Football Any of a series of four plays during which a team must advance at least ten yards to retain possession of the ball.
  • transitive v. To bring, put, strike, or throw down: downed his opponent in the first round.
  • transitive v. To swallow hastily; gulp: downed the glass of water.
  • transitive v. Football To put (the ball) out of play by touching it to the ground.
  • intransitive v. To go or come down; descend.
  • idiom down on Informal Hostile or negative toward; ill-disposed to: was down on jogging after his injury.
  • idiom down on (one's) luck Afflicted by misfortune.
  • n. Fine, soft, fluffy feathers forming the first plumage of a young bird and underlying the contour feathers in certain adult birds.
  • n. Botany A covering of soft, short hairs, as on some leaves or fruit.
  • n. A soft, silky, or feathery substance, such as the first growth of a human beard.
  • n. An expanse of rolling, grassy, treeless upland used for grazing. Often used in the plural.
  • n. Any of several breeds of sheep having short wool, originally bred in the Downs of southern England.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. From a higher position to a lower one; downwards.
  • adv. At a lower place or position.
  • adv. South (as south is at the bottom of typical maps).
  • adv. Away from the city (even if the location is to the North).
  • adv. Into a state of non-operation.
  • adv. The direction leading away from the principal terminus, away from milepost zero.
  • adv. Get down.
  • adv. Away from Oxford or Cambridge.
  • prep. From the higher end to the lower of.
  • prep. From one end to another of.
  • adj. Depressed, feeling low.
  • adj. On a lower level than before.
  • adj. Having a lower score than an opponent.
  • adj. With "on", negative about, hostile to
  • adj. Frequently used prior to "with", relaxed about, accepting of
  • adj. Inoperable; out of order; out of service.
  • adj. finished (of a task)
  • adj. Committed to memory; memorised, in phrases like:
  • v. To drink or swallow, especially without stopping before the vessel containing the liquid is empty.
  • v. To cause to come down.
  • v. To put a ball in a pocket; to pot a ball.
  • v. To bring a play to an end by touching the ball to the ground or while it is on the ground.
  • v. To write off; to make fun of.
  • n. a negative aspect; a downer.
  • n. A grudge (on someone).
  • n. An act of swallowing an entire drink in one.
  • n. A single play, from the time the ball is snapped (the start) to the time the whistle is blown (the end) when the ball is down, or is downed.
  • n. A clue whose solution runs vertically in the grid.
  • n. Hill, rolling grassland
  • n. Field, especially for racing.
  • n. Soft, fluffy immature feathers which grow on young birds. Used as insulating material in duvets, sleeping bags and jackets.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Downcast.
  • adj. Downright; absolute; positive.
  • adj. Downward; going down; sloping
  • adv. In the direction of gravity or toward the center of the earth; toward or in a lower place or position; below; -- the opposite of up.
  • adv.
  • adv. From a higher to a lower position, literally or figuratively; in a descending direction; from the top of an ascent; from an upright position; to the ground or floor; to or into a lower or an inferior condition; as, into a state of humility, disgrace, misery, and the like; into a state of rest; -- used with verbs indicating motion.
  • adv. In a low or the lowest position, literally or figuratively; at the bottom of a descent; below the horizon; on the ground; in a condition of humility, dejection, misery, and the like; in a state of quiet.
  • adv. From a remoter or higher antiquity.
  • adv. From a greater to a less bulk, or from a thinner to a thicker consistence.
  • n. Fine, soft, hairy outgrowth from the skin or surface of animals or plants, not matted and fleecy like wool.
  • n. The soft under feathers of birds. They have short stems with soft rachis and bards and long threadlike barbules, without hooklets.
  • n. The pubescence of plants; the hairy crown or envelope of the seeds of certain plants, as of the thistle.
  • n. The soft hair of the face when beginning to appear.
  • n. That which is made of down, as a bed or pillow; that which affords ease and repose, like a bed of down.
  • n. A bank or rounded hillock of sand thrown up by the wind along or near the shore; a flattish-topped hill; -- usually in the plural.
  • n. A tract of poor, sandy, undulating or hilly land near the sea, covered with fine turf which serves chiefly for the grazing of sheep; -- usually in the plural.
  • n. A road for shipping in the English Channel or Straits of Dover, near Deal, employed as a naval rendezvous in time of war.
  • n. A state of depression; low state; abasement.
  • prep. In a descending direction along; from a higher to a lower place upon or within; at a lower place in or on
  • prep. Hence: Towards the mouth of a river; towards the sea
  • intransitive v. To go down; to descend.
  • transitive v. To cover, ornament, line, or stuff with down.
  • transitive v. To cause to go down; to make descend; to put down; to overthrow, as in wrestling; hence, to subdue; to bring down.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In a descending direction; from a higher to a lower place, degree, or condition: as, to look down; to run down; the temperature is down to zero.
  • In a direction from a source or starting-point, from a more to a less important place or situation, or the like: as, to sail down toward the mouth of a stream; to go down into the country.
  • In a descending order; from that which is higher or earlier in a series or progression to that which is lower or later.
  • In music, from a more acute to a less acute pitch.
  • From a greater to a less bulk, degree of consistency, etc.: as, to boil down a decoction.
  • To or at a lower rate or point, as to price, demand, etc.; below a standard or requirement: as, to mark down goods or the prices of goods; the stocks sold down to a very low figure; to beat down a tradesman.
  • Below the horizon: as, the sun or moon is down.
  • From an erect or standing to a prostrate or overturned position or condition: as, to beat down the walls of a city; to knock a man down.
  • In or into a low, fallen, overturned, prostrate, or downcast position or condition, as a state of discomfiture; at the bottom or lowest point, either literally or figuratively: as, never kick a man when he is down; to put down a rebellion; to be taken down with a fever.
  • Hence Into disrepute or disgrace; so as to discredit or defeat: as, to preach down error; to write down an opponent or his character; to run down a business enterprise.
  • On or to the ground.
  • On the counter; hence, in hand: as, he bought it for cash down; he paid part down and gave his note for the balance.
  • Elliptically: in an imperative or interjectional use, the imperative verb (go, come, get, fall, kneel. etc.) being omitted.
  • Followed by with, being then equivalent to a transitive verb with down (put, pull, take down), in either a literal or a denunciatory sense: as, down with the sail! down with it! down with tyranny!
  • On paper or in a book: with write, jot, set, put, or other verb applicable to writing.
  • In place, position, or occupation; firmly; closely.
  • In a descending direction upon or along, either literally, as from a higher toward a lower level or position, or from a point or place which is regarded as higher; adown: as, to glance down a page; to ramble down the valley; to sail down a stream; an excursion down the bay; down the road.
  • Along the course or progress of: as, down the ages.
  • Cast or directed downward; downcast; de-jected: as, a down look.
  • Downright; plain; positive.
  • Downward; that goes down, or on a road regarded as down: as, a down train or boat.
  • The accent or pulse thus marked.
  • n. A downward movement; a low state; a reverse: as, the ups and downs of fortune.
  • To cause to go down.
  • To discourage; dishearten; dispirit.
  • To go down.
  • To go down the throat; hence, to be palatable; be acceptable or trustworthy.
  • In stud poker, said of the first card, which is dealt face down.
  • n. In dominoes, the first stone laid on the table.
  • n. A scrimmage in foot-ball. When a player is held so that he can no longer advance the ball, he cries ‘down,’ and the ball is then placed on that spot for a scrimmage.
  • n. A grudge or prejudice (against); a hostile attitude: usually with on or upon: as, to have a private down on one; the diggers had a down on made dishes.
  • n. A hill; a hill of moderate elevation and more or less rounded outline: in this general sense now chiefly in poetry, as opposed to dale, vale, valley.
  • n. Same as dune.
  • n. Hence A bare, level space on the top of a hill; more generally, a high, rolling region not covered by forests.
  • n. plural Specifically, certain districts in southern and southeastern England which are underlain by the Chalk (which see).
  • n. The fine soft covering of fowls under the feathers; the fine soft feathers which constitute the under plumage of birds, as distinguished from contour-feathers, particularly when thick and copious, as in swans, ducks, and other water-fowls. The eider-duck yields most of the down of commerce. See down-feather.
  • n. The first feathering of a bird; the downy plumage or floccus with which a præcocial bird is clothed when hatched, or that which an altricial bird first acquires.
  • n. The soft hair of the human face when beginning to appear.
  • n. A fine soft pubescence upon plants and some fruits; also, the light feathery pappus or coma upon seeds by which they are borne upon the wind, as in the dandelion and thistle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. fine soft dense hair (as the fine short hair of cattle or deer or the wool of sheep or the undercoat of certain dogs)
  • adv. spatially or metaphorically from a higher to a lower level or position
  • adv. from an earlier time
  • adj. being or moving lower in position or less in some value
  • n. English physician who first described Down's syndrome (1828-1896)
  • adv. in an inactive or inoperative state
  • adj. shut
  • adj. filled with melancholy and despondency
  • n. soft fine feathers
  • adj. lower than previously
  • v. bring down or defeat (an opponent)
  • n. (American football) a complete play to advance the football
  • v. eat immoderately
  • adv. to a lower intensity
  • v. shoot at and force to come down
  • v. cause to come or go down
  • v. drink down entirely
  • adj. extending or moving from a higher to a lower place
  • adv. away from a more central or a more northerly place
  • adj. understood perfectly
  • adj. becoming progressively lower
  • n. (usually plural) a rolling treeless highland with little soil
  • adv. paid in cash at time of purchase
  • adj. not functioning (temporarily or permanently)
  • v. improve or perfect by pruning or polishing
  • adj. being put out by a strikeout


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.
Middle English doun, from Old Norse dūnn.
Middle English doune, from Old English dūn, hill.

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Norse dún.


  • 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'

  • 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—


  • 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

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


  • 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

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

    Half-Past Seven Stories

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

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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


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  • 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

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

    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

  • 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

  • where one lays the smack

    November 21, 2007