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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English louryng, louringe, lowrynge, later variant of lourand, lowrand, lourande, lowrande, equivalent to lour +‎ -ing. Cognate with Dutch loerend (lurking, louring).



lowering (comparative more lowering, superlative most lowering)

  1. (of sky or environment) Dark and menacing.
    Synonyms: gloomy, threatening
    • 1827, Anonymus, Two Years in Ava from May 1824 to May 1826, page 17:
      The morning had been intensely hot, with but little wind; and the lowering gloomy aspect of the clouds appeared to indicate the approach of one of those sudden gales peculiar to tropical climates, and which, although of short duration, are generally productive of mischief.
    • 2013, Alexandra Raife, A Question Of Trust, →ISBN:
      Jon crossed the pass into Glen Maraich in a stinging flurry of sleet, heading down between dark walls of rock under a lowering sky.
    • 2014, Nancy Atherton, Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin, →ISBN:
      Bleak fields stretched to the horizon beneath lowering clouds.
  2. That lowers or frowns.
    • 2012, H. A. Guerber, The Myths of Greece and Rome, →ISBN:
      One glance sufficed to identify the intruder, for none but he could boast of such a dark, lowering countenance ; and all exclaimed in mingled wonder and terror at his unwonted presence in those sunlit regions:
    • 2013, Robert E Howard, Red Shadows, →ISBN:
      A kind of dark pallor lent him a ghostly appearance in the uncertain light, an effect heightened by the satanic darkness of his lowering brows.
    • 2014, Robert Barr, The Strong Arm: And Other Stories, →ISBN, page 64:
      The Countess had liked Elsa from the first moment when she saw her, ragged, unkempt and forlorn, among the lowering, suspicious men-at-arms in the courtyard, and now that she knew the dangers and the privations the girl had braved for the sake of Wilhelm, the affectionate heart of Beatrix found ample room for the motherless Elsa.
    • 2018, Taylor Caldwell, The Arm and the Darkness, →ISBN:
      Crequy, for several moments, appeared not to have heard. His face became more lowering.
    Synonyms: frowning, scowling, gloomy, sullen, glowering
  3. Lurking, skulking, menacing.
    • 1887, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Typhus:
      Klimov put on his greatcoat mechanically and left the train, and he felt as though it were not himself walking, but some one else, a stranger, and he felt that he was accompanied by the heat of the train, his thirst, and the ominous, lowering figures which all night long had prevented his sleeping.
    • 1906, The Saturday Evening Post - Volume 178, page 14:
      They might have stayed until dusk, undisturbed by Schmidt's casual customers, had it not been for the entrance of three grimy and lowering men.
    • 1976, Growing Point - Volumes 15-18, page 3457:
      The outsize nature of Norse mythological characters is well noted in Caselli's dramatic close-ups, in which the powerful, lowering figures of Odin or Thor are backed by ice and rock, massive trolls, gigantic eagles and wolves.
  4. (obsolete) Turbid. (Can we verify(+) this sense?)
    • 1901, The Dietetic and Hygienic Gazette Vol XVII, page 29:
      Soda water, potash water, and lithia water have those salts added, but not in the lowering amount often ascribed to them. Indeed, such mineral waters are practically no more lowering than an equal quantity of plain water.


lowering (plural lowerings)

  1. Alternative form of louring.
Alternative formsEdit
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

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. From Middle English lahghenn, (c. 1200), which continued in use into the 18c.




  1. present participle of lower


lowering (plural lowerings)

  1. The act of something being lowered.