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From low +‎ -ly.


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lowly (comparative lowlier, superlative lowliest)

  1. Not high; not elevated in place; low.
    • 1918, C. J. Dennis, The Chase of Ages[1]:
      And I watched you waltz from tree to tree
      As I slunk in my lowly lair
    • 1697, John Dryden, translating Virgil, Aeneid[2]:
      And those whom Tiber's holy forests hide,
      Or Circe's hills from the main land divide;
      Where Ufens glides along the lowly lands,
      Or the black water of Pomptina stands.
  2. Low in rank or social importance.
  3. Not lofty or sublime; humble.
    • 2010, David Dondero, Just a Baby in Your Momma's Eyes
      Where our apt used to be they built a fancy condominium high-rise.
      Which at a lowly income none of us could ever really quite afford.
    • 1697, John Dryden, Pastoral VI[4]:
      For all who read, and reading, not disdain These rural poems, and their lowly strain
  4. Having a low esteem of one's own worth; humble; meek; free from pride.
    • 1769, Bible (King James Version), Matthew xi. 29
      Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart.

Derived termsEdit



lowly (comparative more lowly, superlative most lowly)

  1. In a low manner; humbly; meekly; modestly.
    • 1485 July 31, Thomas Malory, “(please specify the chapter)”, in [Le Morte Darthur], (please specify the book number), [London]: [] [by William Caxton], OCLC 71490786; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur [], London: Published by David Nutt, [], 1889, OCLC 890162034:
      , Bk.XXI, Ch.x:
      And there was none of these other knyghtes but they redde in bookes and holpe for to synge Masse, and range bellys, and dyd lowly al maner of servyce.
  2. In a low condition; meanly.