• synonyms


[lou-er-ing, louuh r-ing]
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  1. dark and threatening, as the sky, clouds, or weather; overcast; gloomy: lowering skies.
  2. frowning or sullen, as the face or gaze; scowling; angry.
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Also louring.

Origin of lowering

First recorded in 1300–50, lowering is from the Middle English word louring. See lower2, -ing2
Related formslow·er·ing·ly, adverb


verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to descend; let or put down: to lower a flag.
  2. to make lower in height or level: to lower the water in a canal.
  3. to reduce in amount, price, degree, force, etc.
  4. to make less loud: Please lower your voice.
  5. to bring down in rank or estimation; degrade; humble; abase (oneself), as by some sacrifice of self-respect or dignity: His bad actions lowered him in my eyes.
  6. Music. to make lower in pitch; flatten.
  7. Phonetics. to alter the articulation of (a vowel) by increasing the distance of the tongue downward from the palate: The vowel of “clerk” is lowered to (ä) in the British pronunciation.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to become lower, grow less, or diminish, as in amount, intensity, or degree: The brook lowers in early summer. Stock prices rise and lower constantly.
  2. to descend; sink: the sun lowering in the west.
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  1. comparative of low1.
  2. of or relating to those portions of a river farthest from the source.
  3. (often initial capital letter) Stratigraphy. noting an early division of a period, system, or the like: the Lower Devonian.
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  1. a denture for the lower jaw.
  2. a lower berth.
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Origin of lower1

1150–1200; Middle English, comparative of low1 (adj.)
Related formslow·er·a·ble, adjective


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1. drop, depress. 3. decrease, diminish, lessen. 4. soften. 5. humiliate, dishonor, disgrace, debase.


3. raise, increase. 5. elevate, honor.


[lou-er, louuh r]
verb (used without object)
  1. to be dark and threatening, as the sky or the weather.
  2. to frown, scowl, or look sullen; glower: He lowers at people when he's in a bad mood.
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  1. a dark, threatening appearance, as of the sky or weather.
  2. a frown or scowl.
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Also lour.

Origin of lower2

1250–1300; Middle English lour (noun), louren (v.) to frown, lurk; akin to German lauern, Dutch loeren


See more synonyms for lower on Thesaurus.com
1. darken, threaten.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lowering

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for lowering


  1. being below one or more other thingsthe lower shelf; the lower animals
  2. reduced in amount or valuea lower price
  3. maths (of a limit or bound) less than or equal to one or more numbers or variables
  4. (sometimes capital) geology denoting the early part or division of a period, system, formation, etcLower Silurian
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  1. (tr) to cause to become low or on a lower level; bring, put, or cause to move down
  2. (tr) to reduce or bring down in estimation, dignity, value, etcto lower oneself
  3. to reduce or be reducedto lower one's confidence
  4. (tr) to make quieterto lower the radio
  5. (tr) to reduce the pitch of
  6. (tr) phonetics to modify the articulation of (a vowel) by bringing the tongue further away from the roof of the mouth
  7. (intr) to diminish or become less
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Derived Formslowerable, adjective

Word Origin

C12 (comparative of low 1); C17 (vb)



verb (intr)
  1. (esp of the sky, weather, etc) to be overcast, dark, and menacing
  2. to scowl or frown
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  1. a menacing scowl or appearance
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Derived Formslowering or louring, adjectiveloweringly or louringly, adverb
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 lowering



c.1600, "to descend, sink," from lower (adj.), from Middle English lahghere (c.1200), comparative of low (adj.). Transitive meaning "to let down, to cause to descend" attested from 1650s. Related: Lowered; lowering. In the sense "to cause to descend" the simple verb low (Middle English lahghenn, c.1200) was in use into the 18c.

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"to look dark and threatening," also lour, Middle English louren, luren "to frown" (early 13c.), "to lurk" (mid-15c.), from Old English *luran or from its cognates, Middle Low German luren, Middle Dutch loeren "lie in wait." Form perhaps assimilated to lower (1). Related: Lowered; lowering.

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c.1200, lahre, comparative of lah (see low (adj.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lowering in Science


  1. Being an earlier division of the geological or archaeological period named. Compare upper.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.