Definition of elevator in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈeləˌvādər/


1North American A platform or compartment housed in a shaft for raising and lowering people or things to different floors or levels: in the elevator she pressed the button for the lobby
More example sentences
  • As they passed the elevators, he pressed a button.
  • I walk down the hall to the bank of elevators, and press the up arrow.
  • I headed on ahead of Kyle and stopped at the elevators, pressing a button.
1.1A machine consisting of an endless belt with scoops attached, used typically for raising grain to be stored in an upper story.
Example sentences
  • This was put to use every autumn to power the large and venerable threshing machine, with its elevator and shaking, riddling sieves.
  • The only visible parts of the underground area were the ten elevators for the machines.
  • The grain elevators located along the tracks unload 110 train carloads at a time, or a little over 20 million pounds of corn.
1.2North American A tall building used for storing large quantities of grain.
Example sentences
  • This scenery gives way to industrial buildings and giant grain elevators.
  • The company also tore down an elevator to build its new fertilizer plant.
  • The elevator was used to store grain which came to Montréal by rail and departed by sea.
2A hinged flap on the horizontal stabilizer of an aircraft, typically one of a pair, used to control the motion of the aircraft about its lateral axis.
Example sentences
  • The flight data recorder indicated that the flight crew performed a control check of the elevators.
  • The ailerons are a much simpler control than the elevator.
  • Firing the various thrusters in brief bursts, Brett slowed the rotating motion of the elevator around its axis.
3A muscle whose contraction raises a part of the body: elevators of the upper lip
More example sentences
  • The posture of the jaw at rest depends on the length of the jaw elevator muscles, and the factors determining this are similar to those controlling posture in the body generally.
  • Jaw closing is the result of the action of the jaw elevators, i.e., masseter, temporalis and medial pterygoid muscles.
  • The cooperation pattern of the jaw elevators and depressors has been studied in many different mammalian species.
4North American trademark (also elevator shoe) A shoe with a raised insole designed to make the wearer appear taller.
Example sentences
  • One way to elevate your stature is by wearing height-increasing footwear or apparatuses such as lifts, thicker insoles, elevator shoes, and shoes with thicker soles.
  • Take it from a guy who could use elevator shoes: Too much height scares some talent evaluators more than too little height.
  • He was not wearing elevator shoes, but I was not so content about it.


Mid 17th century (denoting a levator muscle): modern Latin, from Latin elevare 'raise'; in later use directly from elevate.

  • escalate from early 20th century:

    To escalate was originally ‘to travel on an escalator’. The word came from escalator and was coined in the early 1920s, when escalators were still new and exciting. It is now so familiar that it is quite a surprise to realize that we have only been using it to mean ‘increase rapidly’ and ‘become more intense or serious’ since the 1950s. Escalator itself started life in 1900, as a trade name in America. It was derived from the early 19th-century word escalade, which meant ‘to scale a fortified wall by ladder’, and was suggested by elevator, the US word for ‘lift’, which had been around since the 1880s.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: el·e·va·tor

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