Can I use lower and reduce interchangeably?

For example:

  1. The Federal Bank has decided to lower the interest rate
  2. The Federal Bank has decided to reduce the interest rate
  • In this context, but they are not complete synonyms. If I lower a gun that I am aiming I am not reducing it. Dec 10, 2020 at 16:55

2 Answers 2


Yes, within limits

In that sort of context, yes.

The word "reduce" can be used to mean a change to a smaller size, where "lower" would not be appropriate. For example:

  • We would need to reduce the width of the bookcase for it to fit through the door.

  • I am going to reduce my living area to save on expenses.

As a verb "reduce" is often sued specifically in connection with a diet, and "lower" would not be used in quite the same way.

"Lower" is used as a verb, the opposite of "lift" and "reduce" would not be used in that context. "Lower is used as a comparison, as in "Jane's price is lower than Bob's." The word reduce would not be used in that context either.

But when used as a verb in connection with a score, measurement, or rate, "reduce" and "lower" are pretty much interchangeable.


No. You can use them interchangeably when they refer to numbers or heights, but the more you get a way from obviously numeric or vertical considerations, the less idiomatic they become.

They reduced the burden of regulation

rather than

They lowered the burden of regulations.

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