See more synonyms for below on
  1. in or toward a lower place: Look out below!
  2. on, in, or toward a lower level, as a lower deck of a ship: The captain of the ship went below.
  3. beneath the surface of the water: Divers were sent below to view the wreck.
  4. on earth: the fate of creatures here below.
  5. in hell or the infernal regions.
  6. at a later point on a page or in a text: See the illustration below.Compare above(def 5).
  7. in a lower rank or grade: He was demoted to the class below.
  8. under zero on the temperature scale: The temperature in Buffalo was ten below this morning.
  9. Theater. downstage.Compare above(def 8).
  10. Zoology. on the lower or ventral side.
  1. lower down than: below the knee.
  2. lower in rank, degree, amount, rate, etc., than: below cost; below freezing.
  3. too low or undignified to be worthy of; beneath: He considered such an action below his notice.
  4. Theater. downstage of: There are two chairs below the table.

Origin of below

1275–1325; Middle English bilooghe, equivalent to bi- by (see be-) + looghe low1

Synonym study

11. Below, under, beneath indicate position in some way lower than something else. Below implies being in a lower plane: below the horizon, the water line. Under implies being lower in a perpendicular line: The book is under the chair. Beneath may have a meaning similar to below, but more usually denotes being under so as to be covered, overhung, or overtopped: the pool beneath the falls. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for below

Contemporary Examples of below

Historical Examples of below

British Dictionary definitions for below


  1. at or to a position lower than; under
  2. less than in quantity or degree
  3. south of
  4. downstream of
  5. unworthy of; beneath
  1. at or to a lower position or place
  2. at a later place (in something written)see below
  3. archaic beneath heaven; on earth or in hell

Word Origin for below

C14: bilooghe, from bi by + looghe low 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for below

early 14c., biloogh, from be- "by, about" + logh, lou, lowe "low" (see low (adj.)). Apparently a variant of earlier a-lowe (influenced by other adverbs in be-, cf. before), the parallel form to an-high (now on high). Beneath was the usual word; below was very rare in Middle English and gained currency only in 16c. It is frequent in Shakespeare. As a preposition from 1570s. According to Fowler, below is the opposite of above and concerns difference of level and suggests comparison of independent things. Under is the opposite of over and is concerned with superposition and subjection and suggests some interrelation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper