Etymology
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low-life (adj.)
"disreputable, vulgar," 1794, from low (adj.) + life (n.). As a noun, also lowlife, "coarse, no-good person," from 1911. Low-lived (adj.) is attested from 1760.
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low-budget (adj.)
1939, originally of motion pictures, "made with little expense;" from low (adj.) + budget (n.). Usually with a suggestion of low quality as a result.
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low-class (adj.)
1868, from low (adj.) + class (n.). Earlier were low-born (c. 1200), low-bred (1757).
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low-key (adj.)
by 1895, perhaps 1847, from low key in some sense relating to deep musical tone or quiet sound; see low (adj.) + key (n.1). Low key in reference to a quiet voice is attested from 1837. Also compare undertone.
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low-down (adj.)
also low down, lowdown, "vulgar, far down the social scale," 1888, from low (adj.) + down (adv.). Earlier it had meant "humble" (1540s). As a noun, 1915, from the adjective, American English. Low-downer was late 19c. American English colloquial for "poor white; rude, mean person."
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lowing (n.)
the normal bellowing of cattle, early 13c., verbal noun from low (v.).
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lowly (adv.)
c. 1300, "humbly, in a modest manner," from low (adj.) + -ly (2).
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lowest (adj.)
c. 1200, laghesst, superlative of lah "low" (see low (adj.)).
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lowball (v.)
also low-ball, "report or estimate lower," from low (adj.) + ball (n.1).
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lowly (adj.)
late 14c., "humble in feeling, not proud," from low (adj.) + -ly (1). Related: Lowlily.
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