Etymology
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lower (v.1)
c. 1600, "descend, sink, grow less or lower" (intransitive), from lower (adj.), comparative of low (adj.). Transitive meaning "let down, cause to descend" attested from 1650s. Related: Lowered; lowering. In the transitive sense "to cause to descend" the older verb was low (Middle English lahghenn, c. 1200), which continued in use into the 18c.
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lower (v.2)
"to look dark and menacing," also lour, from Middle English louren, luren "to frown, scowl" (early 13c.), "to lurk" (mid-15c.), from Old English *luran or from its cognates, Middle Low German luren, Middle Dutch loeren "lie in wait." The form perhaps has been assimilated to lower (v.1). Related: Lowered; lowering.
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lower (adj.)

Middle English lawar, lower, lougher, earlier lahre (c. 1200), comparative of lah "low" (see low (adj.)). As an adverb from 1540s. Lower-class is from 1772. Lower 48, "the forty-eight contiguous states of the United States of America, excluding Alaska and Hawaii," is by 1961 in an Alaska context (Hawaii actually is "lower" on the globe than all of them).

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lower-case (adj.)
also lowercase, 1680s, in printing, "kind of type placed in the lower case," which held small letters collectively (as opposed to capitals); see lower (adj.) + case (n.2).
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lowermost (adj.)
1560s, from lower (adj.) + -most. Lowermore (1660s) seems to have gone obsolete.
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lour (v.)
"to frown," late 13c. variant of lower (v.2). Related: Loured; louring.
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lurk (v.)
c. 1300, lurken "to hide, lie hidden," probably from Scandinavian (compare dialectal Norwegian lurka "to sneak away," dialectal Swedish lurka "to be slow in one's work"), perhaps ultimately related to Middle English luren "to frown, lurk" (see lower (v.2)). From late 14c. as "move about secretly;" also "escape observation." Related: Lurked; lurking.
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nether (adj.)

Old English niþera, neoþera "down, downwards, lower, below, beneath," from Proto-Germanic *nitheraz (source also of Old Saxon nithar, Old Norse niðr, which contributed to the English word, Old Frisian nither, Dutch neder, German nieder), from comparative of PIE *ni- "down, below" (source also of Sanskrit ni "down," nitaram "downward," Greek neiothen "from below," Old Church Slavonic nizŭ "low, down").

Also an adverb in Old English and Middle English. It has been replaced in most senses by lower (adj.). Of countries, "situated on lower ground" (late 14c.). In Middle English (and after) used also of body parts.

Absolon hath kist hir nether eye. [Chaucer, "Miller's Tale"]
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lowercase (v.)
"to set (text) in lower-case type," 1911, from lower-case (adj.). Related: Lowercased; lowercasing.
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inferior (adj.)
early 15c., of land, "low, lower down, lower in position," from Latin inferior "lower, farther down" (also used figuratively), comparative of inferus (adj.) "that is below or beneath," from infra "below" (see infra-). Meaning "lower in degree, rank, grade, or importance" is from 1530s; absolutely, "of low quality or rank," also from 1530s.
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