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down, adj.

Brit. /daʊn/
U.S. /daʊn/
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Formed within English, by conversion. Etymon: down adv.
Chiefly attributive.

 a. Of a person's look, gaze, or aspect: directed downwards, lowered. Frequently in down look.Sometimes with specific connotations of scorn, sheepishness, or dejection; cf. downlooked adj., downlooking adj., and to look down on at look v. Phrasal verbs 1.

1580   C. Hollyband Treasurie French Tong   Regardeure basse, doune looke.
1596   A. Copley Fig for Fortune 38   Ther is no Content in guilt of euill, A skowll down-looke, and swart synderisie Betokening him a member of the Deuill.
1604   T. Middleton Blacke Bk. sig. B4   A downe countenance he had.
1637   R. Monro Exped. Scots Regim. i. 63   Fearing..the down-looke or frowne of his Officers.
a1716   O. Blackall Wks. (1723) I. xvii. 158   True Religion does not consist in a peculiar Garb..in a down Look.
1782   E. Pendleton Let. 29 July in Lett. & Papers (1967) II. 402   My Nephew..has lately lost a young negroe man..rather thin made, is a little bow legged, and has a down look when spoke to.
1821   J. Galt Ann. Parish xvii. 160   He had a down and thoughtful look..evidently a man foregone in the pleasures of this world.
a1861   W. Fergusson Songs & Poems (1864) 55   A blush upon your cheek, Marion, A down glance o' your e'e, A silence when ye should ha'e spak' Were mair than words to me.
1904   McClure's Mag. Nov. 81/2   He rose with a scornful down-glance at the man with the ball.
1995   S. Heaney tr. B. Merriman in Redress of Poetry (1996) 43   Then her downlook went, her colour rose, She dried her eyes and commenced as follows.
2012   A. Craven in T. Pugh & S. Aronstein Disney Middle Ages xiii. 229   An emotive point of view attributed to the hunchback on high in the cathedral, a down-gaze that imputes Quasimodo's isolated confinement, and, perversely, his power.

1580—2012(Hide quotations)


 b. gen. Moving or directed downwards; descending.For earlier compounds where the prefix down- used in a similar sense, see down- prefix 4b.

1642   H. More Ψυχωδια Platonica sig. Lv   Binding all close with down-propensities.
1722   T. B. Compl. Musick-master (ed. 3) 42   If the first Note in the Barr has a Prick, whether Minim or Crotchet, it will be best to play it with a down Bow.
1892   S. A. K. Strahan Marriage & Dis. ii. 29   Whether he is on the way to a higher development, or on the down path to extinction.
1894   H. Caine Manxman 24   A down line for every stone weight up to eight stones.
1906   J. W. Thomas Ventilation, Heating & Lighting of Dwellings ii. 27   There are many chimney ventilators on the market, some having mica flaps..to shut against a down current.
1920   Official Gaz. (U.S. Patent Office) 6 Jan. 135/1   A series of mixable combination plates stacked in the chamber and forming a tortuous up passage and a straight down passage.
1987   M. Dorris Yellow Raft in Blue Water (1988) i. 9   I take the down elevator.
2005   Ebony Sept. 43/1   Payday loans can result in a vicious cycle that has been described as the equivalent of trying to run up a down escalator.

1642—2005(Hide quotations)


 c. Of a train or coach: travelling away from the capital or principal terminus; of or relating to such trains or coaches.

1797   J. Palmer Papers Reform Posts App. iv. 40   All the Letters from these Towns are sent by the up-Coach at night, where they are sorted and dispatched, according to their different directions, by the down-Coach the next morning.
1845   Trans. Soc. Arts 55 193   An engine..is already on the up-line ready to proceed with the up-train, and another..on the down-line ready to proceed with the down-train.
1878   F. S. Williams Midland Railway (ed. 4) 656   To go down to the roadside station..and see the down mail pass.
1881   Harvard Reg. Feb. 119/1   At that moment the down stage met ours, and as they passed they both stopped an instant.
1885   Law Times Rep. 52 622/2   To cross the line to the down platform.
1904   G. P. Neele Railway Reminisc. 219   Some channel bars of iron on a down goods train..had gradually shifted.
1935   Times 8 July 11/2   It will run non-stop to Truro (279 miles).., except Saturdays, when the down train will make St. Erth (299½ miles) its first station stop.
1997   Mod. Railways July 421/2   The present down passenger line will be upgraded for 60mph running.

1797—1997(Hide quotations)


 d. That has been brought, thrown, or knocked to the ground. Cf. downed adj.2See also down timber n.

1830   W. Carleton Traits & Stories Irish Peasantry I. 263   Murdher, murdher, is it striking a down man you're after?
1889   Amer. Angler 9 Feb. 94/1   The earth was covered with down logs.
1916   Recreation Dec. 266/2   Finding a down bird is made much simpler, especially in thick cover.
1972   Jrnl. Range Managem. 25 118/3   Down trees can serve in lieu of shrubs as cover.
2014   M. Daley Yuletide Rescue i. 17   He started his grid search, flying low enough to scan the terrain for a down plane or any signs of people.

1830—2014(Hide quotations)


 e. Of a crossword clue or answer: that fills or is intended to fill the spaces down a vertical line of the puzzle. Cf. down adv. 1c, across adj.

1925   W. McCarty Noah's Word Animals 8   No. 2 is a down word.
1963   D. St. P. Barnard Anat. Crossword ii. 37   Some enthusiasts even went to the extent of making a duplicate pattern and working the Across clues on one, and the Down clues on the other.
1981   S. A. Kurzban & M. Rosen Compl. Cruciverbalist iii. 37   Work only from the Down definitions.
2012   D. Sutherland Solving Cryptic Crosswords For Dummies p. xxviii   Only down clues can use on top of, under, beneath and so on, because of how they're written into the crossword grid. Here's an example of a down clue: Highland gold is under the dish.

1925—2012(Hide quotations)


2. Downright, absolute, complete. Cf. even down adj. 2, right-down adj. Obsolete. rare.

a1625   J. Fletcher Valentinian i. i, in F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Comedies & Trag. (1647) sig. Aaaaaaa/2   After my many offers..And her as many down-denyals.

a1625—a1625(Hide quotations)


 a. Of a person's mood, feelings, etc.: characterized by depression or despondency; dejected, dispirited; low. Cf. down adv. 17b.

a1644   F. Quarles Solomons Recantation (1645) ii. 24   Goe winde the Plummets up Of thy down spirits.
1899   E. Gosse Life & Lett. J. Donne II. 289   He was equally prompt in recovery, and after one of these ‘down’ moods, he would radiate life and light about a dazzled and bewitched society.
1970   Chron.-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio) 15 Oct. 29/2   It caught Sandusky in a down state of mind after losing to powerhouse Elyria.
2011   D. S. Bialer No Longer Secret 67   Are there things that make you feel better when you're upset or trigger a ‘down’ feeling when you're doing fine?

a1644—2011(Hide quotations)


 b. Chiefly U.S. colloq. Causing or characterized by depression, despondency, or lack of vigour; depressing, dispiriting. Cf. down n.4 1c.

1873   Arthur's Illustr. Home Mag. Nov. 719/1   ‘Oh, you've got a down day,’ said he. ‘I must take you a drive to-night, if the weather should continue fine. Cheer up—good-morning.’
1953   Albuquerque (New Mexico) Jrnl. 15 Jan. 25/2   Last year ended on a down note for young Palmer..in his divorce from actress Joanna Ransom.
1967   Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Jrnl. 18 Dec. b3/6   A ‘down trip’ is any experience that is dull and uninspiring; it can be caused naturally or by drugs.
1972   New Yorker 5 Aug. 21   It's too down. I don't like down movies. I like up movies.
2009   R. Kirkpatrick 1969: Year Everything Changed 145   The movie ends on a down note, the church left with a mess, the residue of bacchanalia.

1873—2009(Hide quotations)


 4. Designating an initial payment for something bought on credit or paid for in instalments. Chiefly in down payment. Cf. down adv. 7a.

1854   Daily Indiana State Sentinel 25 Feb.   The terms of sale are one-fifth of the purchase money down, and the remainder in six equal yearly payments, allowing a premium of five per cent on all money over the down payment, paid within six months from the date of purchase.
1877   Canada Law Jrnl. Jan. 21/2   The parties had entered into such suretyship the contract for purchase had been made in the wife's name, who paid the down instalment.
1891   U. Eberhart Hist. Eberharts li. 225   I had seventy dollars left... This I paid as the down money for an old balky mare, which I bought for $110, giving my note for $40.
1931   Good Housek. (U.S. ed.) Dec. 117 (advt.)    You can easily manage the $6.25 for a down payment on The Hoover.
1951   Norwich (N.Y.) Sun 13 Dec. 6/3 (advt.)    Priced very low. Down deposit $3,500, balance $39 per month.
1959   J. Braine Vodi x. 138   The money for the first inescapable hundred down-payments.
2013   T. Pynchon Bleeding Edge vii. 73   Justin and Vyrva had enough squirreled away for a down payment on a house.

1854—2013(Hide quotations)


 5. Designating a period or occasion during which the price or value of something (esp. stocks, shares, etc.) falls or remains low.Cf. down market n.

1886   Real Estate Rec. & Builders' Guide 30 Jan. 129/1   How do you account for the improvement in business this last year.., it being one of the ‘down’ years in the iron cycle?
1917   National Provisioner 2 June 31/2   This is a down week on all kinds of [live]stock, and it is possible that there will be some difficulty in stopping the declines.
1937   Business Week 4 Dec. 22/2   In almost every previous down period, lower steel prices have been the inevitable consequence of sharpened competition.
1992   N.Y. Times 2 Aug. (Late ed.) (Business section) 14 f/1   Bear markets: periods that had at least three consecutive down months plus cumulative losses of 10 percent or more.
2015   P. Sullivan Thin Green Line (2016) ii. 40   The number of calls to sell securities increased after down days in the stock market.

1886—2015(Hide quotations)


 6. Designating a period or occasion when something (such as a factory, machine, computer system, etc.) is out of operation or unavailable for use, or when normal work, activity, or productivity ceases or is less intense.Recorded earliest in down-time (see downtime n.).

1940   Electr. World 6 Apr. 97/1 (advt.)    Fewer hours lost in ‘down-time’.
1950   World Oil Apr. 136/3   Oil lost through down days incurred through the use of makeshift equipment is considered to override the possible savings gained in equipment expenditures.
1993   J. Hadley Part-time Careers xi. 189   You can't panic if you have a down month. For every down month you're going to have two crazy months.
2007   R. Katz et al. in H. de Meer & N. Bhatti Quality of Service i. 3   One down hour of access to Amazon.com results in an estimated loss of revenue of $600,000.
2014   H. Thorpe Soldier Girls iv. ii. 297   Usually they ran a mission one day, had a down day the next. They spent the down days cleaning trucks.

1940—2014(Hide quotations)


 7. colloq. (orig. and chiefly U.S.). Of a person: smart, well-informed, hip; following the latest trends and fashion. Also, of a thing: fashionable, stylish, cool. Cf. down adv. 29.

1952   H. Ellson Golden Spike Gloss.   Down cat, a good guy.
1957   H. Simmons Corner Boy ii. xxvi. 250   She had the downest jukebox in town.
1964   N.Y. Times 23 Aug. (Mag.) 64/3   Down—hip, just right and true, as in ‘That was a down movie.’
1968   N.Y. Mag. 22 July 4/3   In his early columns I got the impression that here was a down dude who really liked stone soul & rock.
1975   E. Torres Carlito's Way 19   He was a down cat and he was connected.
2012   Observer (Nexis) 9 Dec. (Mag.) 46   Andrew Renton is a down dude... He is even more hip than you might think because he doesn't try to be cool, he just is.

1952—2012(Hide quotations)


 8. Particle Physics. Designating a quark distinguished by a characteristic flavour (flavour n. 5) and having a relatively small mass and an electric charge of -⅓. Cf. down n.6

1972   M. Gell-Mann in Acta Physica Austriaca Suppl. 9 739   The φ is composed of strange and antistrange quarks whereas ρ and π have only ordinary up and down quarks.
1989   New Scientist 18 Feb. 33/1   Particles containing other types of quarks together with ‘up’ or ‘down’ quarks do exist, but only temporarily.
2012   S. Carroll Particle at End of Universe i. 11   We need only three elementary particles to make up every single piece of matter that we immediately perceive in the environment around us—electrons, up quarks, and down quarks.

1972—2012(Hide quotations)


Special uses


  down button   n. a button in a lift which, when pressed, causes the lift to descend to a lower floor; (also) a button outside a lift which summons it to go down.

1895   Electric Power 8 538   Each up button is connected to contacts in all the [elevator] shafts placed below, and each down button to contacts above the landing.
1958   N.Y. Times 28 Feb. 25/1   Peter..entered the elevator but apparently neglected to press the down button.
2013   M. Piercy Braided Lives xix. 189   She strikes the down button with her fist... We ride down.

1895—2013(Hide quotations)


  down card   n. Cards (chiefly Poker) a playing card dealt face down; opposed to up-card n.

1885   Mail & Express (N.Y.) 19 Jan. 1/5   Should any one of these pair the ‘down card’, it would constitute the strongest hand.
1937   Hammond (Indiana) Times 15 June 13/6   It was a modest game, they tell me, the champion risking just a dime on each down card.
1999   F. Barthelme & S. Barthelme Double Down v. 67   When she flips her down card there it is, the ace.

1885—1999(Hide quotations)


  down dog   n. Yoga a position in which the body assumes an inverted-V shape, with the hands and feet on the floor, and the buttocks pointing upwards; = downward dog n. at downward adv., adj., and prep. Compounds 2.

1993   Esquire Mar. 153   This is called the down dog.
2002   Christian Sci. Monitor 24 Oct. 1/1   The delicate blonde rolls out a rubber mat..and slips into a ‘down dog’.
2013   Self Apr. 23   Start in Down Dog, with feet hip-width apart.

1993—2013(Hide quotations)


  downforce   n. a force that acts downwards, esp. on a moving vehicle; (Motor Racing) a force produced as air rushes over a car, which has the effect of increasing grip with the road surface, allowing the car to move through a corner at a high speed.

1938   School Sci. & Math. 38 201   While there is an up force on the solid, we get an equal down force against the balance.
1943   Life 17 May 56   The only thing that keeps the airplane out of that dive is the down force on the tail fins.
1947   Pop. Sci. Monthly Oct. 96/2   When Macqueen and his engineers adjust the cars' rear wing..they unexpectedly increase the strain on the springs which..further increases the downforce.
2005   Flying Feb. 99/2   Since wings and horizontal stabilizers are symmetrical, the up force on one side balances the down force on the other.
2010   S. McCollum Dragsters 19   The dragster's wing creates downforce when air rushes over it.

1938—2010(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2018).

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