i'm going to elaborate, on behalf of mirriam-webster, that this word is most often used in the context of the lower part of a ship, below deck, and usually in opposition of the word aloft.
i have never been on a ship.
i have seen some ships. usually tall ships, and usually in newport, rhode island. so i'm gonna go ahead and talk about newport.
the first time i went to newport was on a field trip in the sixth grade. i think we were learning about 19th century america at the time. i remember we had to watch Gone with the Wind in my class. my teacher, mrs. cerino, was crying. we were clueless.
this was my first trip to rhode island. we were supposed to take the bus so far and then take a ferry the rest of the way. i didn't like boats* so i lied and said that i get seasick in order to take the bus the rest of the way over the newport bridge. jen martino stayed with me so i didn't have to ride all that way alone with a strange bus driver.
the point of the trip was to visit newport's mansions. i was spellbound. at eleven years old, they were quite possibly the most beautiful things i had ever seen—grand, eloquent houses, on the edges of cliffs overlooking the atlantic. one particular house, The Breakers, left me speechless. when our group tour moved from the interior of the house onto the balcony, the view of the ocean froze me—i had never been in such a grand position, in that house, with that view. this is not the only time the ocean has struck me in this way, leaving me ALOW its awesome nature. maybe i was outside myself, maybe experiencing the historical mansions was transporting me to another era and i was hovering aloft my consciousness. but that image imprinted itself into my mind, and i knew i needed to remember it; it was one of the first moments in my life during which i felt a desperation to remember.
i kicked myself for not investing in a cheap disposable camera. but my brain worked. it remembered.
*i realize that it may have been more appropriate to write a blog about my issue with boats, since the word ALOW is directly related to ship-vocabulary, but i'm saving it.