Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “down”


adverb uk   /daʊn/ us  

down adverb (LOWER POSITION)

A2 in or towards a low or lower position, from a higher one: Is this lift going down? Don't look down! You'll get dizzy. The sun's going down and it'll be dark soon. The space capsule came down in the ocean. I bent down to look under the bed. A1 moving from above and onto a surface: Just as I was sitting down to watch TV, the phone rang. Why don't you lie down on the sofa for a while? This box is really heavy - can we put it down (on the floor) for a minute? Get down off that table immediately, you silly girl! The terrorists forced everybody to lie face down (= with the front part of the body below) on the floor. firmly in place or into position: I put the loose floorboard back and nailed it down. He held my arms down by my sides.

down adverb (LOWER LEVEL)

in or towards a lower level, a smaller amount, or a simpler state: The rate of inflation is finally going down. Turn the TV down - it's way too loud! The nurse bandaged my sprained ankle to keep the swelling down (= to limit the swelling). If you wait a few months, the price will come down. Milan were three goals down (= losing by three goals) at half-time. The number of students at this school has gone down from 500 last year to 410.

down adverb (DESTROY)

If you burn, cut, or knock something or someone down, you cause it or them to fall to the ground, usually damaged, destroyed, or injured: The house burned down many years ago. These trees will have to be cut down to make way for the new road.UK She was knocked down by a car and killed instantly.

down adverb (IN WRITING)

B1 in writing or on paper: I'll write it down now so I won't forget. Do you have it down in writing/on paper, or was it just a verbal agreement? I've got/put you down for (= have written that you want) three tickets each. The police officers were taking down the names of witnesses.

down adverb (FAR)

B1 used, especially with prepositions, to emphasize that a place is far from you or from somewhere considered to be central: I'll meet you down at the club after work. He has a house down by the harbour. I'm going down to the shop to buy some milk. in or towards the south: Things are much more expensive down (in the) south. My parents live down in Florida, but they come up to Chicago every summer. We're moving down to London.

down adverb (OLDER TO YOUNGER)

from an older person to a younger one: The necklace has been passed/handed down through seven generations. These myths have come down to us from prehistoric times.

down adverb (EATING)

inside your stomach: You'll feel better once you've got some hot soup down you. He's getting weak because he can't keep anything down.

down adverb (MONEY)

at the time of buying: I gave him £1,000 down, and paid the rest in instalments.


preposition uk   /daʊn/ us  

down preposition (LOWER POSITION)

A2 in or towards a low or lower position, from a higher one: I slid down the hill. Aikiko fell down some stairs and broke her wrist.

down preposition (ALONG)

A2 along: We drove down the motorway as far as Bristol. Her office is down the corridor on the right. They sailed the boat down the river (= towards the sea).

down preposition (TO)

UK not standard to: I went down the pub with my mates.


verb [T] uk   /daʊn/ us  

down verb [T] (LOWER POSITION)

to cause something or someone to fall to the ground: We downed three enemy planes with our missiles. The ice storm has downed trees and power lines all over the region.

down verb [T] (EAT)

to eat or drink something quickly: He'd downed four beers before I'd finished one.

down verb [T] (DEFEAT)

US to defeat someone, especially in sport: The Yankees downed the Red Sox 7–0.


adjective uk   /daʊn/ us  

down adjective (UNHAPPY)

B2 unhappy; unable to feel excited or energetic about anything: She's been really down since her husband left. I've been (feeling) a bit down this week.

down adjective (NOT IN OPERATION)

C1 [after verb] (of a system or machine, especially a computer) not in operation or not working, usually only for a limited period of time: The network will be down for an hour for routine maintenance. The whole system's gone down.
See also


noun uk   /daʊn/ us  

down noun (FEATHERS)

[U] small soft feathers, especially those from a young bird: goose/duck down a down jacket/pillow/sleeping bag (= a jacket/pillow/sleeping bag filled with down) [S or U] very soft thin hair

down noun (DISLIKE)

have a down on sb UK informal to dislike someone, often unfairly: Why do you have a down on him? I think he seems really nice.
See also
(Definition of down adverb, preposition, verb, adjective, noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of down?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “down” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


used as an informal greeting between people who know each other or as an expression of approval

Word of the Day

Come on – you can do it! Phrasal verbs with ‘come’.

by Liz Walter​,
November 19, 2014
As part of an occasional series on the tricky subject of phrasal verbs, this blog looks at ones formed with the verb ‘come’. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you already know come from, as it is one of the first things you learn in class: I come from Scotland/Spain.

Read More 

silver splicer noun

November 17, 2014
informal a person who marries in later life Newly retired and now newlywed – rise of the ‘silver splicers’ Reaching pension age becomes a trigger to tie the knot as baby-boomers begin to redefine retirement

Read More