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lower case

[loh-er]
noun Printing.
  1. See under case2(def 8).
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Origin of lower case

First recorded in 1675–85

case

2
[keys]
noun
  1. an often small or portable container for enclosing something, as for carrying or safekeeping; receptacle: a jewel case.
  2. a sheath or outer covering: a knife case.
  3. a box with its contents: a case of ginger ale.
  4. the amount contained in a box or other container: There are a dozen bottles to a case.
  5. a pair or couple; brace: a case of pistols.
  6. a surrounding frame or framework, as of a door.
  7. Bookbinding. a completed book cover ready to be fitted to form the binding of a book.
  8. Printing. a tray of wood, metal, or plastic, divided into compartments for holding types for the use of a compositor and usually arranged in a set of two, the upper (upper case) for capital letters and often auxiliary types, the lower (lower case) for small letters and often auxiliary types, now generally replaced by the California job case.Compare news case.
  9. a cavity in the skull of a sperm whale, containing an oil from which spermaceti is obtained.
  10. Also called case card. Cards. the last card of a suit or denomination that remains after the other cards have been played: a case heart; the case jack.
  11. Faro. casebox.
  12. Southeastern U.S. (chiefly South Carolina ). a coin of a particular denomination, as opposed to the same amount in change: a case quarter.
  13. Metallurgy. the hard outer part of a piece of casehardened steel.
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verb (used with object), cased, cas·ing.
  1. to put or enclose in a case; cover with a case.
  2. Slang. to examine or survey (a house, bank, etc.) in planning a crime (sometimes followed by out): They cased the joint and decided to pull the job on Sunday.
  3. to fuse a layer of glass onto (glass of a contrasting color or of different properties).
  4. to cover (a surface of a wall, well, shaft, etc.) with a facing or lining; revet.
  5. Bookbinding. to bind (a book) in a case.
  6. Cards Slang.
    1. to arrange (cards or a pack of cards) in a dishonest manner.
    2. to remember the quantity, suit, or denomination of (the cards played).
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Origin of case

2
1250–1300; Middle English cas < Anglo-French cas(s)e, Old French chasse < Latin capsa cylindrical case for holding books in scroll form, receptacle
Related formscas·er, nounwell-cased, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for lower case

lower case

noun
  1. a compositor's type case, in which the small letters are kept
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adjective lower-case
  1. of or relating to small letters
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verb lower-case
  1. (tr) to print with lower-case letters
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case

1
noun
  1. a single instance, occurrence, or example of something
  2. an instance of disease, injury, hardship, etc
  3. a question or matter for discussionthe case before the committee
  4. a specific condition or state of affairs; situation
  5. a set of arguments supporting a particular action, cause, etc
    1. a person attended or served by a doctor, social worker, solicitor, etc; patient or client
    2. (as modifier)a case study
    1. an action or suit at law or something that forms sufficient grounds for bringing an actionhe has a good case
    2. the evidence offered in court to support a claim
  6. grammar
    1. a set of grammatical categories of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives, marked by inflection in some languages, indicating the relation of the noun, adjective, or pronoun to other words in the sentence
    2. any one of these categoriesthe nominative case
  7. informal a person in or regarded as being in a specified conditionthe accident victim was a hospital case; he's a mental case
  8. informal a person of a specified character (esp in the phrase a hard case)
  9. informal an odd person; eccentric
  10. US informal love or infatuation
  11. short for case shot See canister (def. 2b)
  12. as the case may be according to the circumstances
  13. in any case (adverb) no matter what; anyhowwe will go in any case
  14. in case (adverb)
    1. in order to allow for eventualities
    2. (as conjunction)in order to allow for the possibility thattake your coat in case it rains
    3. USif
  15. in case of (preposition) in the event of
  16. in no case (adverb) under no circumstancesin no case should you fight back
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Word Origin for case

Old English casus (grammatical) case, associated also with Old French cas a happening; both from Latin cāsus, a befalling, occurrence, from cadere to fall

case

2
noun
    1. a container, such as a box or chest
    2. (in combination)suitcase; briefcase
  1. an outer cover or sheath, esp for a watch
  2. a receptacle and its contentsa case of ammunition
  3. a pair or brace, esp of pistols
  4. architect another word for casing (def. 3)
  5. a completed cover ready to be fastened to a book to form its binding
  6. printing a tray divided into many compartments in which a compositor keeps individual metal types of a particular size and style. Cases were originally used in pairs, one (the upper case) for capitals, the other (the lower case) for small lettersSee also upper case, lower case
  7. metallurgy the surface of a piece of steel that has been case-hardened
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verb (tr)
  1. to put into or cover with a caseto case the machinery
  2. slang to inspect carefully (esp a place to be robbed)
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Word Origin for case

C13: from Old French casse, from Latin capsa, from capere to take, hold
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 lower case

case

v.

"enclose in a case," 1570s, from case (n.2). Related: Cased; casing. Meaning "examine, inspect" (usually prior to robbing) is from 1915, American English slang, perhaps from the notion of giving a place a look on all sides (cf. technical case (v.) "cover the outside of a building with a different material," 1707).

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case

n.1

early 13c., "what befalls one; state of affairs," from Old French cas "an event, happening, situation, quarrel, trial," from Latin casus "a chance, occasion, opportunity; accident, mishap," literally "a falling," from cas-, past participle stem of cadere "to fall, sink, settle down, decline, perish" (used widely: of the setting of heavenly bodies, the fall of Troy, suicides), from PIE root *kad- "to lay out, fall or make fall, yield, break up" (cf. Sanskrit sad- "to fall down," Armenian chacnum "to fall, become low," perhaps also Middle Irish casar "hail, lightning"). The notion being "that which falls" as "that which happens" (cf. befall).

Meaning "instance, example" is from c.1300. Meaning "actual state of affairs" is from c.1400. Given widespread extended and transferred senses in English in law (16c.), medicine (18c.), etc.; the grammatical sense (late 14c.) was in Latin. U.S. slang meaning "person" is from 1848. In case "in the event" is recorded from mid-14c. Case history is from 1879, originally medical; case study "study of a particular case" is from 1879, originally legal.

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case

n.2

"receptacle," early 14c., from Anglo-French and Old North French casse (Old French chasse "case, reliquary;" Modern French châsse), from Latin capsa "box, repository" (especially for books), from capere "to take, hold" (see capable).

Meaning "outer protective covering" is from late 14c. Also used from 1660s with a sense "frame" (e.g. staircase, casement). Artillery sense is from 1660s, from case-shot "small projectiles put in cases" (1620s). Its application in the printing trade (first recorded 1580s) to the two trays where compositors keep their types in separate compartments for easy access led to upper-case letter for a capital (1862) and lower-case for small letters.

"The cases, or receptacles, for the type, which are always in pairs, and termed the 'upper' and the 'lower,' are formed of two oblong wooden frames, divided into compartments or boxes of different dimensions, the upper case containing ninety-eight and the lower fifty-four. In the upper case are placed the capital, small capital, and accented letters, also figures, signs for reference to notes &c.; in the lower case the ordinary running letter, points for punctuation, spaces for separating the words, and quadrats for filling up the short lines." ["The Literary Gazette," Jan. 29, 1859]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lower case in Medicine

case

(kās)
n.
  1. An occurrence of a disease or disorder.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

lower case in Culture

case

A grammatical category indicating whether nouns and pronouns are functioning as the subject of a sentence (nominative case) or the object of a sentence (objective case), or are indicating possession (possessive case). He is in the nominative case, him is in the objective case, and his is in the possessive case. In a language such as English, nouns do not change their form in the nominative or objective case. Only pronouns do. Thus, ball stays the same in both “the ball is thrown,” where it is the subject, and in “Harry threw the ball,” where it is the object.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with lower case

case

In addition to the idiom beginning with case

  • case in point

also see:

  • basket case
  • get down to brass tacks (cases)
  • have a case on
  • in any case
  • in case of
  • in no case
  • in the case of
  • just in case
  • make a federal case
  • off someone's back (case)
  • open and shut case
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.