Deeper Dive: down
Word Story Text
Down is an example of a word where it's useful for a teacher to be thinking about rhyme, friends and enemies.

Although down has rhyme friends like brown and town, it also has many rhyme enemies, like own known and throne.

So when teaching down it would be best to present it with its rhyme friends and keep it away from its rhyme enemies.

In addition to rhyme friends, like down and brown, it could also be taught with words like how and now.
down noun [Akin to LG. dune, dun, Icel. dnn, Sw. dun, Dan. duun, G. daune, cf. D. dons; perh. akin to E. dust.]

1. Fine, soft, hairy outgrowth from the skin or surface of animals or plants, not matted and fleecy like wool; esp.: (a) (Zool.) The soft under feathers of birds. They have short stems with soft rachis and bards and long threadlike barbules, without hooklets. (b) (Bot.) The pubescence of plants; the hairy crown or envelope of the seeds of certain plants, as of the thistle. (c) The soft hair of the face when beginning to appear.
And the first down begins to shade his face. Dryden.
2. That which is made of down, as a bed or pillow; that which affords ease and repose, like a bed of down
When in the down I sink my head,
Sleep, Death’s twin brother, times my breath. Tennyson.

Thou bosom softness, down of all my cares! Southern.
Down tree (Bot.)
a tree of Central America (Ochroma Lagopus), the seeds of which are enveloped in vegetable wool.
Down (doun), transitive verb To cover, ornament, line, or stuff with down. [R.] Young.

Down, noun [OE. dun, doun, AS. dūn; of Celtic origin; cf. Ir. dūn hill, fortified hill, Gael. dun heap, hillock, hill, W. din a fortified hill or mount; akin to E. town. See Town, and cf. Down, adverb & preposition, Dune.]

1. A bank or rounded hillock of sand thrown up by the wind along or near the shore; a flattish-topped hill; – usually in the plural.
Hills afford prospects, as they must needs acknowledge who have been on the downs of Sussex. Ray.

She went by dale, and she went by down. Tennyson.
2. A tract of poor, sandy, undulating or hilly land near the sea, covered with fine turf which serves chiefly for the grazing of sheep; – usually in the plural. [Eng.]
Seven thousand broad-tailed sheep grazed on his downs. Sandys.
3. pl. A road for shipping in the English Channel or Straits of Dover, near Deal, employed as a naval rendezvous in time of war.
On the 11th [June, 1771] we run up the channel . . . at noon we were abreast of Dover, and about three came to an anchor in the Downs, and went ashore at Deal. Cook (First Voyage).
4. pl. [From the adverb.] A state of depression; low state; abasement. [Colloq.]
It the downs of life too much outnumber the ups. M. Arnold.
Down, adverb [For older adown, AS. adūn, adūne, prop., from or off the hill. See 3d Down, and cf. Adown, and cf. Adown.]

1. In the direction of gravity or toward the center of the earth; toward or in a lower place or position; below; – the opposite of up.

2. Hence, in many derived uses, as:
(a) From a higher to a lower position, literally or figuratively; in a descending direction; from the top of an ascent; from an upright position; to the ground or floor; to or into a lower or an inferior condition; as, into a state of humility, disgrace, misery, and the like; into a state of rest; – used with verbs indicating motion.
It will be rain to-night. Let it come down. Shak.

I sit me down beside the hazel grove. Tennyson.

And that drags down his life. Tennyson.

There is not a more melancholy object in the learned world than a man who has written himself down. Addison.

The French . . . shone down [i. e., outshone] the English. Shak.
(b) In a low or the lowest position, literally or figuratively; at the bottom of a descent; below the horizon; on the ground; in a condition of humility, dejection, misery, and the like; in a state of quiet.
I was down and out of breath. Shak.

The moon is down; I have not heard the clock. Shak.
He that is down needs fear no fall. Bunyan.
3. From a remoter or higher antiquity.

Down helm (Naut.),
an order to the helmsman to put the helm to leeward
Down on


Down upon
(joined with a verb indicating motion, as go, come, pounce),
to attack, implying the idea of threatening power.

Come down upon us with a mighty power. Shak.
Down with
take down, throw down, put down; – used in energetic command, often by people aroused in crowds, referring to people, laws, buildings, etc.; as, down with the king!

Down with the palace; fire it.” Dryden.
To be down on
to dislike and treat harshly. [Slang, U.S.]
To cry down
See under Cry, transitive verb
To cut down
See under Cut, transitive verb
Up and down
with rising and falling motion; to and fro; hither and thither; everywhere.

“Let them wander up and down.” Ps. lix. 15.
Down, preposition [From Down, adverb]

1. In a descending direction along; from a higher to a lower place upon or within; at a lower place in or on; as, down a hill; down a well.

2. Hence: Towards the mouth of a river; towards the sea; as, to sail or swim down a stream; to sail down the sound.

Down the country
toward the sea, or toward the part where rivers discharge their waters into the ocean.
Down the sound
in the direction of the ebbing tide; toward the sea.
Down, transitive verb [imperfect or past participle Downed; present participle or verbal noun Downing.] To cause to go down; to make descend; to put down; to overthrow, as in wrestling; hence, to subdue; to bring down. [Archaic or Colloq.]
“To down proud hearts.” Sir P. Sidney.

I remember how you downed Beauclerk and Hamilton, the wits, once at our house. Madame D'Arblay.
Down, intransitive verb
To go down; to descend. Locke.
Down, adjective 1. Downcast; as, a down look. [R.]

2. Downright; absolute; positive; as, a down denial. [Obs.] Beau. & Fl.

3. Downward; going down; sloping; as, a down stroke; a down grade; a down train on a railway.

-- Webster's unabridged 1913

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