Definition of elevator in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɛlɪveɪtə/


1 North American term for lift (sense 1 of the noun). 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.
2A machine consisting of an endless belt with scoops attached, used for raising grain to an upper storey for storage.
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.
2.1North American A tall building used for storing grain: in the harbour a giant elevator stores prairie grain
More 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.
3A hinged flap on the tailplane of an aircraft, typically one of a pair, used to control the motion of the aircraft about its lateral axis: first you trim the rudder, then the ailerons, and finally the elevator
More 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.
4A 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.
5North American trademark (also elevator shoe) A shoe with a raised insole designed to make the wearer appear taller: something in his gait made me sure he was wearing elevator shoes
More 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 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

Line breaks: ele|va¦tor

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