down 2[doun] Word Origin noun

  1. the soft, first plumage of many young birds.
  2. the soft under plumage of birds as distinct from the contour feathers.
  3. the under plumage of some birds, as geese and ducks, used for filling in quilts, clothing, etc., chiefly for warmth.
  4. a growth of soft, fine hair or the like.
  5. Botany.
    1. a fine, soft pubescence on plants and some fruits.
    2. the light, feathery pappus or coma on seeds by which they are borne on the wind, as on the dandelion and thistle.


  1. filled with down: a down jacket.

Origin of down 2 1325–75; Middle English downe Old Norse dūnn Related formsdown·less, adjectivedown·like, adjective British Dictionary definitions for downless Down 1 noun

  1. a district of SE Northern Ireland, in Co Down. Pop: 65 195 (2003 est). Area: 649 sq km (250 sq miles)
  2. a historical county of SE Northern Ireland, on the Irish Sea: generally hilly, rising to the Mountains of Mourne: in 1973 it was replaced for administrative purposes by the districts of Ards, Banbridge, Castlereagh, Down, Newry and Mourne, North Down, and part of Lisburn. Area: 2466 sq km (952 sq miles)

Down 2 noun

  1. any of various lowland breeds of sheep, typically of stocky build and having dense close wool, originating from various parts of southern England, such as Oxford, Hampshire, etcSee also Dorset Down
  2. another name for Hampshire Down

down 1 preposition

  1. used to indicate movement from a higher to a lower positionthey went down the mountain
  2. at a lower or further level or position on, in, or alonghe ran down the street


  1. downwards; at or to a lower level or positiondon’t fall down
  2. (particle) used with many verbs when the result of the verb’s action is to lower or destroy its objectpull down; knock down; bring down
  3. (particle) used with several verbs to indicate intensity or completioncalm down
  4. immediatelycash down
  5. on paperwrite this down
  6. arranged; scheduledthe meeting is down for next week
  7. in a helpless positionthey had him down on the ground
    1. away from a more important placedown from London
    2. away from a more northerly placedown from Scotland
    3. (of a member of some British universities) away from the university; on vacation
    4. in a particular part of a countrydown south
  8. nautical (of a helm) having the rudder to windward
  9. reduced to a state of lack or wantdown to the last pound
  10. lacking a specified amountat the end of the day the cashier was ten pounds down
  11. lower in pricebacon is down
  12. including all intermediate terms, grades, people, etcfrom managing director down to tea-lady
  13. from an earlier to a later timethe heirloom was handed down
  14. to a finer or more concentrated stateto grind down; boil down
  15. sport being a specified number of points, goals, etc behind another competitor, team, etcsix goals down
  16. (of a person) being inactive, owing to illnessdown with flu
  17. (functioning as imperative) (to dogs)down Rover!
  18. down with (functioning as imperative) wanting the end of somebody or somethingdown with the king!
  19. get down on something Australian and NZ to procure something, esp in advance of needs or in anticipation of someone else


  1. (postpositive) depressed or miserable
  2. (prenominal) of or relating to a train or trains from a more important place or one regarded as higherthe down line
  3. (postpositive) (of a device, machine, etc, esp a computer) temporarily out of action
  4. made in casha down payment
  5. down to the responsibility or fault ofthis defeat was down to me
  6. down with informal
    1. having a good understanding ofdown with computers
    2. in agreement withcompletely down with that idea
    3. enjoying mutual friendship and respect withdown with the kids


  1. (tr) to knock, push or pull down
  2. (intr) to go or come down
  3. (tr) informal to drink, esp quicklyhe downed three gins
  4. (tr) to bring (someone) down, esp by tackling


  1. American football one of a maximum of four consecutive attempts by one team to advance the ball a total of at least ten yards
  2. a descent; downward movement
  3. a lowering or a poor period (esp in the phrase ups and downs)
  4. have a down on informal to bear ill will towards (someone or something)

Word Origin for down Old English dūne, short for adūne, variant of of dūne, literally: from the hill, from of, off + dūn hill; see down 3 down 2 noun

  1. the soft fine feathers with free barbs that cover the body of a bird and prevent loss of heat. In the adult they lie beneath and between the contour feathers
  2. another name for eiderdown (def. 1)
  3. botany a fine coating of soft hairs, as on certain leaves, fruits, and seeds
  4. any growth or coating of soft fine hair, such as that on the human face

Word Origin for down C14: of Scandinavian origin; related to Old Norse dūnn down 3 noun

  1. archaic a hill, esp a sand duneSee also downs (def. 1), Downs (def. 1)

Word Origin for down Old English dūn; related to Old Frisian dūne, Old Saxon dūna hill, Old Irish dūn fortress, Greek this sandbank; see dune, town Word Origin and History for downless down adv.

late Old English shortened form of Old English ofdune “downwards,” from dune “from the hill,” dative of dun “hill” (see down (n.2)). A sense development peculiar to English.

Used as a preposition since c.1500. Sense of “depressed mentally” is attested from c.1600. Slang sense of “aware, wide awake” is attested from 1812. Computer crash sense is from 1965. As a preposition from late 14c.; as an adjective from 1560s. Down-and-out is from 1889, American English, from situation of a beaten prizefighter. Down home (adj.) is 1931, American English; down the hatch as a toast is from 1931; down to the wire is 1901, from horse-racing. Down time is from 1952. Down under “Australia and New Zealand” attested from 1886; Down East “Maine” is from 1825.

down n.1

“soft feathers,” late 14c., from Old Norse dunn, perhaps ultimately from PIE root *dheu- (1) “to fly about (like dust), to rise in a cloud.”

down n.2

Old English dun “down, moor; height, hill, mountain,” from Proto-Germanic *dunaz- (cf. Middle Dutch dunen “sandy hill,” Dutch duin, “probably a pre-insular loan-word from Celtic” [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names], in other words, borrowed at a very early period, before the Anglo-Saxon migration.

The non-English Germanic words tend to mean “dune, sand bank” (cf. dune), while the Celtic cognates tend to mean “hill, citadel” (cf. Old Irish dun “hill, hill fort;” Welsh din “fortress, hill fort;” and second element in place names London, Verdun, etc.).

From PIE root *dheue- “to close, finish, come full circle.” Meaning “elevated rolling grassland” is from c.1300. German Düne, French dune, Italian, Spanish duna are said to be loan-words from Dutch.

down v.

1560s, from down (adv.). Related: Downed; downing.

Idioms and Phrases with downless down

In addition to the idioms beginning with down

  • down and dirty
  • down and out
  • down cold, have
  • down for the count
  • down in the dumps
  • down on
  • down one’s alley
  • down one’s neck
  • down one’s nose
  • down on one’s luck
  • down someone’s throat
  • down the drain
  • down the hatch
  • down the line
  • down the pike
  • down the road
  • down the tubes
  • down to
  • down to earth
  • down to size
  • down to the ground
  • down to the wire
  • down with
  • also see:

  • back down
  • batten down the hatches
  • bear down
  • beat down
  • be down
  • belt down
  • bog down
  • boil down to
  • break down
  • breathe down one’s neck
  • bring down
  • bring down the house
  • buckle down
  • build down
  • burn down
  • call down
  • cast down
  • caught with one’s pants down
  • chow down
  • clamp down
  • close down
  • come down
  • come down on
  • come down to
  • come down with
  • cool down
  • cool off (down)
  • count down
  • crack down
  • cut down
  • deep down
  • die away (down)
  • dig down
  • draw down
  • dressing down
  • face down
  • fall down
  • flag down to
  • get down to brass tacks
  • go down (downhill)
  • go down the line
  • hand down
  • hands down
  • hold down
  • it’s all downhill
  • jump down someone’s throat
  • keep down
  • knock back (down)
  • knock down with a feather
  • knuckle down
  • lay down
  • lay down the law
  • lead down the garden path
  • let down easy
  • let one’s hair down
  • let someone down
  • let the side down
  • lie down (on the job)
  • live down
  • look down on
  • lowdown, get the
  • mark down
  • mow down
  • nail down
  • pin down
  • pipe down
  • play down
  • plunk down
  • pull down
  • put down
  • put down roots
  • put one’s foot down
  • ram down someone’s throat
  • ring down the curtain
  • rub down
  • run down
  • scale down
  • sell down the river
  • send down
  • set down
  • settle down
  • shake down
  • shoot down
  • shout down
  • shut down
  • simmer down
  • sit down
  • slap down
  • slow down
  • splash down
  • stand down
  • stare down
  • step down
  • strike down
  • suit down to the ground
  • take down
  • take down a notch
  • take lying down
  • talk down to
  • tear down
  • the lowdown on
  • throw down the gauntlet
  • thumbs up (down)
  • tie down
  • tone down
  • touch down
  • track down
  • trade down
  • turn down
  • turn upside down
  • ups and downs
  • vote down
  • wash down
  • water down
  • wear down
  • weigh down
  • when it comes (down) to
  • when the chips are down
  • wind down
  • write down
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