[lou-er-ing, louuh r-ing]


dark and threatening, as the sky, clouds, or weather; overcast; gloomy: lowering skies.
frowning or sullen, as the face or gaze; scowling; angry.

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)

to cause to descend; let or put down: to lower a flag.
to make lower in height or level: to lower the water in a canal.
to reduce in amount, price, degree, force, etc.
to make less loud: Please lower your voice.
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.
Music. to make lower in pitch; flatten.
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.

verb (used without object)

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.
to descend; sink: the sun lowering in the west.


comparative of low1.
of or relating to those portions of a river farthest from the source.
(often initial capital letter) Stratigraphy. noting an early division of a period, system, or the like: the Lower Devonian.


a denture for the lower jaw.
a lower berth.

Origin of lower

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

Synonyms for lower

Antonyms for lower


[lou-er, louuhr]

verb (used without object)

to be dark and threatening, as the sky or the weather.
to frown, scowl, or look sullen; glower: He lowers at people when he's in a bad mood.


a dark, threatening appearance, as of the sky or weather.
a frown or scowl.
Also lour.

Origin of lower

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

Synonyms for lower

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for lowering

menacing, heavy, overcast, gloomy, ominous

Examples from the Web for lowering

Contemporary Examples of lowering

Historical Examples of lowering

British Dictionary definitions for lowering




being below one or more other thingsthe lower shelf; the lower animals
reduced in amount or valuea lower price
maths (of a limit or bound) less than or equal to one or more numbers or variables
(sometimes capital) geology denoting the early part or division of a period, system, formation, etcLower Silurian


(tr) to cause to become low or on a lower level; bring, put, or cause to move down
(tr) to reduce or bring down in estimation, dignity, value, etcto lower oneself
to reduce or be reducedto lower one's confidence
(tr) to make quieterto lower the radio
(tr) to reduce the pitch of
(tr) phonetics to modify the articulation of (a vowel) by bringing the tongue further away from the roof of the mouth
(intr) to diminish or become less
Derived Formslowerable, adjective

Word Origin for lower

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




verb (intr)

(esp of the sky, weather, etc) to be overcast, dark, and menacing
to scowl or frown


a menacing scowl or appearance
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.



"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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lowering in Science



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