Definition of lever in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlevər/
Pronunciation: /ˈlēvər/


Image of lever
1A rigid bar resting on a pivot, used to help move a heavy or firmly fixed load with one end when pressure is applied to the other.
Example sentences
  • In Book II Heron discusses lifting heavy objects with a lever, a pulley, a wedge, or a screw.
  • One lever ‘set’ consists of two rigid levers and four deflectable lever pairs of different length, any of which can be used for the experiment.
  • This can happen through leverage by rigid levers, or it can occur in pliant hydrostatic cylinders of constant volume.
crowbar, bar, jimmy
1.1A projecting arm or handle that is moved to operate a mechanism: she pulled a lever at the base of the cage
More example sentences
  • For convenience and safety, some skid-steer loader manufacturers mount switches on the steering control grips or levers to control these multifunctional tools.
  • Dr. Zamia pulled a lever with a red handle, and the hum evolved into a loud roar.
  • Most excavator operators find it easier to operate levers, switches, and other controls with their hands or fingers rather than the ball or heel of their foot.
handle, grip, pull, switch
1.2A means of exerting pressure on someone to act in a particular way: rich countries increasingly use foreign aid as a lever to promote political pluralism
More example sentences
  • Appointed officials, rather than elected ones, control the levers of real power.
  • They are the unelected bankers, media barons and industry chiefs who control the crucial levers of power.
  • First of all, the most powerful lever for change has to do with the quality of the teacher.


[with object]
1Lift or move with a lever: she levered the lid off the pot with a screwdriver
More example sentences
  • Once inside, the lock was broken on the church door, which was levered open.
  • Firefighters did their best to coax Kaitlin out too, but were forced to lever open the door.
  • She called the police, woke her husband and the couple then watched as Townsend tried to lever open the door.
pry, prize, force, wrench, pull, wrest, heave
informal jimmy
1.1Move (someone or something) with a concerted physical effort: she levered herself up against the pillows
More example sentences
  • As you try to lever them into position, they seem to suddenly sprout extra limbs to match the extra decibels they are producing.
  • Once in his stall, as soon as Adam had removed his saddle, he sank carefully to his knees and levered his body down into the straw, grunting bravely.
  • Wincing in pain, she levered her leg up onto a branch and leaned back, trying to regain her strength for her final run.
1.2 [no object] Use a lever: the men got hold of the coffin and levered at it with crowbars
1.3Pressurize (someone) to do something: another sticking point is the money that will be required to lever the unions into accepting a deal
More example sentences
  • In that case, we're actually levering the player's imagination as a co-processor to fill in the blanks where the computer is weak.
  • Modernisation of the profession and an increase in working hours to cover career development is still a sticking point, as is the money that will be required to lever the unions into accepting a deal.
  • They are going to have to take it because it is the right one to take, and the government should not allow them to lever out more concessions.


Middle English: from Old French levier, leveor, from lever 'to lift'.

Words that rhyme with lever

achiever, believer, cleaver, deceiver, diva, Eva, fever, Geneva, griever, heaver, leaver, Neva, perceiver, receiver, reiver, reliever, retriever, Shiva, underachiever, viva, weaver, weever

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lev·er

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