Do they both mean a brief version? Eg.

They gave us the _ version of what had happened so far.

And is "break down" related to these words? Like in breaking down the steps for an activity.


They are very similar, but have slightly different goals. Both involve a transfer of needed information.

Rundown is a high-level list, helping a person who just entered the situation to be better acclimated to what is going on without being bogged down with details. "He came to the ballgame late, so I gave him the rundown of the score and batting order."

Lowdown implies privately-held and true knowledge that's being held from the general populous for whatever reason. This is often accompanied by a lowering (quieting) of the voice, as if to convey a secret. "Everyone thought that Jimmy painted the mural, but Jane gave me the lowdown: it was actually her."


It seems so according to Oxford Dictionary


An analysis or summary of something by a knowledgeable person.



The true facts or relevant information about something.


A brief statement or account of the main points of something.

rundown synonyms:

[informal] low-down, recap

  • 1
    However, keep it on the lowdown means something different: keep it a secret. Although the specific words have similar definitions, they can mean something else in certain contexts. – Jason Bassford May 23 '18 at 16:04
  • @JasonBassford I didn't know that expression. But are you sure about it? I have found this: A phrase used by an adult attempting to use young slang, while failing to realize that the correct phrase is "down low" urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=lowdown – RubioRic May 23 '18 at 16:18
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    Yes, there is also down low. I've heard both. (I don't use either, myself.) I find it humorous that the Urban Dictionary would talk about "correct" slang. In one sense, no slang is "correct." However, I think both are used and understood. (That dictionary had another funny meaning for the word: Can mean COOL or be an expression of approval. Alternativley an expression of contempt.) – Jason Bassford May 23 '18 at 16:29

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