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A second-hand (not new) item, usually a piece of clothing, that is passed down for continued use, often from an older sibling to a younger one. Maria was tired of getting her older sister's hand-me-downs and looked forward to being able to buy her own clothes.
1. verb Literally, to descend from a higher point to a lower one. This usage is commonly used to describe precipitation. Come down and look at this flood in the basement! The rain was coming down so hard this morning that I got soaked.
2. verb To decrease. I hope house prices in this neighborhood come down so that we can actually afford one.
3. verb To be bequeathed or passed down through a line of inheritance. Oh, that antique vase came down to me from my grandmother.
4. verb To originate with or be announced or decreed by a higher authority. I'm not happy about this decision either, but it came down from the CEO, so we have to abide by it.
5. verb To scold or reprimand one harshly. In this usage, "down" is typically followed by "on." It was a mistake, so don't come down on him too hard, OK?
6. verb To lose one's wealth or social status. In the early 20th century, a respected woman in high society came down dramatically if she got divorced.
7. verb To become ill. In this usage, "down" is typically followed by "with" and the particular illness. I didn't do much this weekend because I came down with a cold. Our goalie came down with the flu and missed the game.
8. verb To be dependent on something else. In this usage, the phrase is typically followed with "to." I can't make a decision about this job until I get a salary offer—my decision really comes down to that.
9. verb, slang To become sober again after using drugs or alcohol. He's starting to come down from whatever he took.
10. verb, slang To happen. Hey fellas, what's coming down tonight?
11. noun A disappointment or failure. In this usage, the phrase is typically written as one word. Not getting into my dream school was a real comedown.
1. verb To blackmail someone for money; to extort someone. A noun or pronoun is often used between "shake" and "down." The assistant has been shaking the governor down ever since he found out that she'd been taking bribes.
2. verb By extension, to ask, pressure, or force someone to pay a sum of money, often an exorbitant or unfair amount. A noun or pronoun is often used between "shake" and "down." I think it's criminal that the IRS gets to shake you down for so much of your hard-earned cash each year. Her private school offers the best education in the state, but they don't hesitate to shake us down for the privilege. Before you know it, the kids will be driving their own cars and shaking you down for money on the weekends.
3. verb To become acclimated, organized, or established (in something or some place new). So, how's your first week in the office been? You shaking down all right? It took us a few weeks to shake down after the move, but we're feeling right at home now.
4. verb To search someone or something thoroughly, especially for weaponry or prohibited substances. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "shake" and "down." The bouncer is shaking down everyone to make sure no one smuggles booze or drugs into the concert. The officer shook me down even though I told him I didn't have a gun on me.
5. noun An instance of blackmail for money or extorsion. As a noun, the phrase is usually written as one word. The FBI captured the shakedown on video and was able to use it at the trial.
6. noun By extension, an instance of asking, pressuring, or forcing someone to pay a sum of money, often an exorbitant or unfair amount. As a noun, the phrase is usually written as one word. It's time for the annual shakedown by the IRS again. Every time I turn around, there's another shakedown at the office for some charity or fundraiser or whatever.
1. verb To record or make a note of something, typically by making a mark of some kind with a writing utensil or digitally. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "mark" and "down." Did you mark down my score for that last round? Sure, mark me down for a $20 donation.
2. verb To reduce the price of something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "mark" and "down." Would you be willing to mark it down a little? I'm trying to stick to a budget. Those bananas have all been marked down because they're starting to turn brown.
3. verb To subtract points from an overall score due to an incorrect answer, poor performance, etc. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "mark" and "down." The gymnast is definitely going to see her score marked down for several small infractions. I would have had a perfect score, but the teacher marked it down for a few spelling mistakes.
4. noun A discount, or a discounted item. In this usage, the phrase is usually hyphenated or written as one word. I always go to the sale rack in the back to take a look at the markdowns. Do they ever offer any mark-downs, or are their prices always the same?
1. verb To move someone or something down from a higher position to a lower one. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "down." Take your sister down from the table this instant! He took down the bottle and poured a glass for everyone at the table.
2. verb To dismantle or disassemble a large object or structure. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "down." After the concert, we'll need everyone on hand to help take down the set. They're taking the statue down today.
3. verb To ruin, sabotage, or destroy someone or something or their chances for success. A noun or pronoun can be used between "take" and "down." A number of organizations have been trying to take the senator down for his ties to the gun lobby. The advertisement was supposed to take down the company's competitors, but it backfired and ended up hurting their own sales.
4. noun An attempt to ruin, sabotage, or destroy someone or something or their chances for success. As a noun, the phrase is usually hyphenated. The ad campaign was intended to be a take-down of the tobacco industry.
5. noun A highly negative critique of someone or something that is particularly thorough and effective. As a noun, the phrase is usually hyphenated. The late night host's take-down of the candidate's debate performance was more thorough than some of the serious political shows.
ups and downs
Positive and negative events or experiences, considered collectively. Oh, we’ve had our share of ups and downs, like any married couple.
1. A cause of sadness or melancholy. Getting dumped by my boyfriend was a real bring-down. Geez, that documentary about the environment was a bringdown, huh?
2. A disappointment. I thought our movie was going to be a great success, but the box office numbers for opening weekend were a real bringdown.
A mocking, insulting, and disparaging comment or remark. Enough with the put-downs, Tommy—if you don't have anything nice to say about your brother's performance, don't say anything at all. All the little put-downs my boss makes have worn my self-confidence away to nothing.
1. verb To eat or drink something very quickly. Wow, you guys really downed that dish—I guess you liked it!
2. verb To throw or shove someone to the ground. Well, that was a quick wrestling match—Adam downed his opponent in no time at all.
3. noun In American football, one of four chances to advance a minimum of 10 yards. If the team in possession of the ball does not advance 10 yards in these four attempts, then they yield the ball to their opponent. On a miraculous play, they scored a touchdown on fourth down.
4. adjective Sad or depressed. Sorry, I'm a little down—I had a really bad day.
5. adjective Not functioning, as of a machine or system. The computer system will be down this weekend for some routine maintenance.
6. adjective Finished or completed. All right, one room down, two to go before our painting is done.
7. adjective At a deficit; behind in the score. We're only down by one, so we have plenty of time to make a comeback in the third period.
8. adjective Committed to memory. I still don't have the quadratic equation down—can you remind me what it is?
1. Sl. to happen. Hey, man! What's coming down? When something like this comes down, I have to stop and think things over.
2. a letdown; a disappointment. (Usually comedown.) The loss of the race was a real comedown for Willard. It's hard to face a comedown like that.
3. Sl. to begin to recover from the effects of alcohol or drug intoxication. She came down slow from her addiction, which was good. It was hard to get her to come down.
4. [for something] to descend (to someone) through inheritance. All my silverware came down to me from my great-grandmother. The antique furniture came down through my mother's family.
(from some place) Go to down (from some place).
come down(from something)
1. to come to a lower point from a higher one. Come down from there this instant! Come down, do you hear?
2. to move from a higher status to a lower one. (See also come down in the world.) He has come down from his original position. Now he is just a clerk. He has come down quite a bit.
come down (hard) (on someone or something)
Fig. [for someone] to scold or punish someone or a group severely. The judge really came down on the petty crooks. The critics came down much too hard on the performance.
*down (with someone )
Sl. friends with someone; okay or on good terms with someone. (Down = okay. *Typically: be ~; get ~.) It's okay. I'm down with Chuck. Chuck and I are down.
mark someone down
[for a teacher] to give someone a low score. He'll mark you down for misspelled words. I marked down Tom for bad spelling.
mark something down
1. Lit. to write something down on paper. She marked the number down on the paper. She marked down the number.
2. Fig. to reduce the price of something. We are going to mark all this merchandise down next Monday. We marked down the merchandise.
shake someone down
1. to blackmail someone. (Underworld.) Fred was trying to shake Jane down, but she got the cops in on it. The police chief was trying to shake down just about everybody in town.
2. to put pressure on someone to lend one money. We tried to shake down Max for a few hundred, but no deal. If you're trying to shake me down, forget it. I have no cash.
(someone's) ups and downs
a person's good fortune and bad fortune. I've had my ups and downs, but in general life has been good to me. All people have their ups and downs.
take someone or something down
to move someone or something to a lower position or level. The boss is downstairs and wants to meet our visitor. Will you take her down? The way down to the lobby is confusing. Let me take down our visitor. Let me take the sandwiches down.
take something down
1. to take some large or complicated things apart. They plan to take all these buildings down and turn the land into a park. Do they plan to take down the television broadcasting tower?
2. to write something down in something. Please take these figures down in your notebook. Take down these figures in your record of this meeting.
1. Lose wealth or position, as in After the market crashed, the Tates really came down in the world. A 1382 translation of the Bible by followers of John Wycliffe had this term: "Come down from glory, sit in thirst" (Jeremiah 48:18).
2. Become reduced in size or amount, be lowered, as in Interest rates will have to come down before the economy recovers. [Mid-1600s]
3. Be handed down by inheritance, tradition, or a higher authority. For example, This painting has come down to us from our great-grandparents, or These stories have come down through the generations, or An indictment finally came down. [c. 1400]
4. Also, go down. Happen, occur, as in What's coming down tonight? [Slang; 1960s]
Reduce the price of something, as in If they mark down these shoes, I'll buy two pairs. The mark here alludes to the label indicating a price. [Mid-1800s]
1. Extort money from, as in They had quite a racket, shaking down merchants for so-called protection. [Slang; second half of 1800s]
2. Make a thorough search of, as in They shook down all the passengers, looking for drugs. [Slang early 1900s]
3. Subject a new vehicle or machine to a tryout, as in We'll shake down the new model next week.
4. Become acclimated or accustomed, to a new place, job, or the like, as in Is this your first job? You'll soon shake down. [Mid-1800s]
1. Bring from a higher position to a lower one, as in After the sale they took down all the signs. [c. 1300]
2. Take apart, dismantle, as in They took down the scaffolding. [Mid-1500s]
3. Humble or humiliate; see take down a notch.
4. Record in writing, as in Please take down all these price quotations. [Early 1700s]
ups and downs
Good times and bad times, successes and failures, as in We've had our ups and downs but things are going fairly well now. This term was first recorded in 1659.
ˌups and ˈdownstimes of success, happiness, etc. and times of failure, unhappiness, etc: I suppose every marriage has its ups and downs. ♢ I’ve watched the ups and downs of his business with great interest.
1. To descend: The snow is coming down hard.
2. To lose wealth or position: He has really come down in the world.
3. To pass or be handed down by tradition: The family loved traditions that came down from their ancestors.
4. To be handed down from a higher authority: An indictment came down on the case of corruption.
5. Slang To happen; occur: What's coming down tonight?
6. To experience diminishing effects of a recreational or hallucinogenic drug: He felt giddy and sick from the overdose, but he eventually came down and felt better.
7. come down on To descend upon something or someone: The rain came down on us suddenly.
8. come down on To criticize or punish someone harshly: He came down hard on anyone who was late to his meetings.
9. come down to To be passed on to someone; inherited by someone: I believe those antiques came down to them from their grandparents.
10. come down to To depend on the answer to or outcome of something: The situation comes down to whether we can finish on time.
11. come down with To develop an ailment: She came down with a nasty cold and stayed in bed all day.
1. To write a description or symbol for something observed; make a note of something: I marked down the characteristics of every bird I saw in the woods. Did you mark the directions down?
2. To lower the price of something offered for sale: The department store marked down all of its shoes last week by 20 percent. The baker marks the bread down an hour before closing.
1. To extort money from someone: The mob regularly sends thugs to shake down local businesses. The blackmailer shook us down for $1000.
2. To make a thorough search of someone or something: The guards shook down the prisoners' cells for hidden weapons. The airport security guards shook me down.
3. To become acclimated or accustomed, as to a new environment or a new job: We gave the new hire a few weeks to shake down before assigning her to a project.
1. To bring something to a lower position from a higher one: Take the book down from the shelf. The store took down all the signs after the sale ended.
2. To dismantle something that is standing: In the morning, we took down the tents and put them in our backpacks. The workers took the Halloween display down and put up one for Thanksgiving.
3. To lower someone's arrogance or self-esteem: The opposing team really took him down during the final game. They were so good that they took down each member of our debate team.
4. To write something one has heard or observed: I took down every word they said so I could review the conversation later. The stenographer took the speech down and transcribed it.
1. in. to happen. Hey, man! What’s coming down?
2. n. a letdown; a disappointment. (Usually comedown.) The loss of the race was a real comedown for Willard.
3. in. to begin to recover from the effects of alcohol or drug intoxication. She came down slow, which was good.
1. mod. depressed; melancholy. (see also down with something.) I feel sort of down today.
2. mod. [of a machine] inoperative. (Originally said of a computer.) The system is down. Come back later.
3. tv. to eat or drink something down quickly. She downed her sandwich in record time.
4. tv. to throw someone down, as in wrestling; to knock someone down as in a fight. Wilbur downed his opponent and won the match.
5. mod. behind in a score. They’re twenty points down, and it looks like the Adamsville team has won.
6. mod. finished; completed; behind one. One down and three to go.
7. mod. learned; memorized. (From sense 6) I’ve got the dates down, but not the names.
8. mod. okay; satisfactory; cool; in agreement. (see also down (with someone).) We had a fight, but we’re down now.
9. mod. prepared; knowledgeable. (From senses 7 and 8.) Are you down for the test tomorrow?
10. mod. alcohol intoxicated. Five beers and he was down.
11. Go to downer.
n. an insult; an intentionally cruel and deflating insult. Another put-down like that and I’m going home.