Pronunciation Adjective

deep (comparative deeper, superlative deepest)

  1. (of a, physical distance) Extending far away from a point of reference, especially downwards.
    1. Extending far down from the top or surface; having its bottom far down.
      We hiked into a deep valley between tall mountains.
      There was a deep layer of dust on the floor; the room had not been disturbed for many years.
      • 1591, William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene i], page 130 ↗, column 2:
        Smooth runnes the Water, where the Brooke is deepe,
    2. Far in extent in another (non-downwards, but generally also non-upwards) direction away from a point of reference.
      The shelves are 30 centimetres deep. — They are deep shelves.
    3. In a (specified) number of rows or layers.
      a crowd three deep along the funeral procession
    4. Thick.
      That cyclist's deep chest allows him to draw more air.
    5. Voluminous.
      to take a deep breath / sigh / drink
      • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 45 ↗:
        Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. […] She put back a truant curl from her forehead where it had sought egress to the world, and looked him full in the face now, drawing a deep breath which caused the round of her bosom to lift the lace at her throat.
    6. A long way inside; situated far in or back.
      deep into/in the forest
      1. (cricket, baseball, softball) Far from the center of the playing area, near to the boundary of the playing area, either in absolute terms or relative to a point of reference.
        He is fielding at deep mid wicket.
        She hit a ball into deep center field.
      2. (sports, soccer, tennis) A long way forward.
        a deep volley
      3. (American football) Relatively farther downfield.
  2. (intellectual, social) Complex, involved.
    1. Profound, having great meaning or import, but possibly obscure or not obvious.
      That is a deep thought!
    2. To a significant, not superficial, extent.
      I just meant to help out a little, but now I'm deep into it.
      They're deep in discussion.
      • 2013 September 28, Kenan Malik, "London Is Special, but Not That Special ↗," New York Times (retrieved 28 September 2013):
        While Britain’s recession has been deep and unforgiving, in London it has been relatively shallow.
    3. Hard to penetrate or comprehend; profound; intricate; obscure.
      a deep subject or plot
      • circa 1840 Thomas De Quincey:
        Why it was that the ancients had no landscape painting, is a question deep almost as the mystery of life, and harder of solution than all the problems of jurisprudence combined.
    4. Of penetrating or far-reaching intellect; not superficial; thoroughly skilled; sagacious; cunning.
      • c. 1607–1608, William Shakeſpeare, The Late, And much admired Play, Called Pericles, Prince of Tyre. […], London: Imprinted at London for Henry Goſſon,  […], published 1609, OCLC 78596089 ↗, [Act V, scene i]:
        Deepe clearks ſhe dumb's
  3. (sound, voice) Low in pitch.
    She has a very deep contralto voice.
  4. (of a color) Highly saturated.
    That's a very deep shade of blue.
  5. (sleep) Sound, heavy (describing a state of sleep from which one is not easily awoken).
    He was in a deep sleep.
  6. Immersed, submerged (in).
    deep in debt
    deep in the mud
    waist-deep in the muddy water
  7. Muddy; boggy; sandy; said of roads.
    • :
      The ways in that vale were very deep.
  8. (of time) Distant in the past, ancient.
    deep time
    in the deep past
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • German: tief
  • Portuguese: de fundo
  • Russian: глубо́кий
  • Spanish: de fondo, ancho
Translations Translations
  • German: tief
  • Portuguese: fundo
  • Russian: глубо́кий
Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • German: tief
  • Spanish: capa profunda


  1. Deeply.
    • 1671, John Milton, “Book the Fourth”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey […], OCLC 228732398 ↗, lines 324, page 95 ↗:
      Deep verſt in books and ſhallow in himſelf,
    • 1709, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Criticism, London: Printed for W. Lewis […], published 1711, OCLC 15810849 ↗, page 14 ↗:
      A little Learning is a dang'rous Thing; / Drink deep, or taſte not the Pierian Spring:
    • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page vii:
      Hepaticology, outside the temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere, still lies deep in the shadow cast by that ultimate "closet taxonomist," Franz Stephani—a ghost whose shadow falls over us all.
Translations Noun


  1. (literary, with "the") The deep part of a lake, sea, etc.
    creatures of the deep
  2. (literary, with "the") A silent time; quiet isolation.
    the deep of night
  3. (rare) A deep shade of colour.
  4. (US, rare) The profound part of a problem.
  5. (with "the") The sea, the ocean.
  6. (cricket) A fielding position near the boundary.
    Russell is a safe pair of hands in the deep.
Translations Translations Translations

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