low (adj.)

"not high, below the usual level," late 13c., earlier lah (late 12c.), "not rising much, being near the base or ground" (of objects or persons), also "lying on the ground or in a deep place" (late 13c.). This is not found in Old English, so the word is probably from Old Norse lagr "low, low-down, short; humble," or a similar Scandinavian source (compare Swedish låg, Danish lav), from Proto-Germanic *lega- "lying flat, low" (source also of Old Frisian lech, Middle Dutch lage, Dutch laag "low," dialectal German läge "flat"), from PIE root *legh- "to lie down, lay."

In reference to sounds, "not loud," also "having a deep pitch," from c. 1300. Meaning "humble in rank" is from c. 1200; "undignified, not high in character" is from 1550s; meaning "coarse, vulgar" is from 1759. Sense of "dejected, dispirited" is attested from 1737. Of prices, from c. 1400. In geographical usage, low refers to the part of a country near the sea-shore (c. 1300), as in Low Countries "Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg" (1540s). Low German languages (1845) are so called for being spoken in the lower elevations of old Germany.

Abject, low, and mean may have essentially the same meaning, but low is more often used with respect to nature, condition, or rank: mean, to character or conduct: abject, to spirit. [Century Dictionary, 1897]

Low blow in the figurative sense (1940s) is from pugilism. To lie low is from mid-13c. as "get down so as not to be seen," 1880 in the modern slang sense "keep quiet." Low Church in 18c. English history referred to Anglicans laying little stress on church authority (1702); in 19c. it meant evangelical Anglicans.

low (v.)

Old English hlowan "moo, make a noise like a cow," from Proto-Germanic imitative *khlo- (source also of Middle Dutch loeyen, Dutch loeien, Old Low Franconian luon, Old High German hluojen). This is perhaps identical with the imitative PIE root *kele- (2) "to shout."

low (n.1)

"the ordinary sound uttered by an ox or cow" [OED], 1540s, from low (v.); ultimately imitative.

low (adv.)

"near the ground, not high," c. 1200, from low (adj.). Of voices or sounds, from c. 1300.

low (n.2)

"hill, small eminence," obsolete except in place names, from Old English hlaw "hill, mound," especially "barrow," a noun related to hleonian "to lean," from PIE root *klei- "to lean." Compare Latin clivus "hill," Greek klitys "side of a hill," from the same PIE root.

low (n.3)

the low point of anything, the minimum, 1818, originally in card games; general sense by 1911.

Definitions of low
low (adj.)
filled with melancholy and despondency;
Synonyms: gloomy / grim / blue / depressed / dispirited / down / downcast / downhearted / down in the mouth / low-spirited
low (adj.)
less than normal in degree or intensity or amount;
the reservoir is low
low prices
low (adj.)
literal meanings; being at or having a relatively small elevation or upward extension;
the sun is low
low ceilings
low furniture
low hills
low clouds
a low bow
low (adj.)
very low in volume;
a low murmur
the low-toned murmur of the surf
Synonyms: low-toned
low (adj.)
unrefined in character;
low comedy
low (adj.)
used of sounds and voices; low in pitch or frequency;
Synonyms: low-pitched
low (adj.)
of the most contemptible kind;
a low stunt to pull
a low-down sneak
low (adj.)
low or inferior in station or quality;
Synonyms: humble / lowly / modest / small
low (adj.)
no longer sufficient;
supplies are low
Synonyms: depleted
low (adj.)
subdued or brought low in condition or status;
brought low
Synonyms: broken / crushed / humbled / humiliated
low (n.)
an air mass of lower pressure; often brings precipitation;
a low moved in over night bringing sleet and snow
Synonyms: depression
low (n.)
a low level or position or degree;
the stock market fell to a new low
low (n.)
the lowest forward gear ratio in the gear box of a motor vehicle; used to start a car moving;
Synonyms: first gear / first / low gear
low (v.)
make a low noise, characteristic of bovines;
Synonyms: moo
low (adv.)
in a low position; near the ground;
the branches hung low
Low (n.)
British political cartoonist (born in New Zealand) who created the character Colonel Blimp (1891-1963);
Synonyms: David Low / Sir David Low / Sir David Alexander Cecil Low