Definition of level in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlevəl/


1A position on a real or imaginary scale of amount, quantity, extent, or quality: a high level of unemployment debt rose to unprecedented levels
More example sentences
  • The recession has resulted in unprecedented levels of unemployment and a dramatic increase in poverty.
  • For the first time last year, unemployment rose to an unprecedented level of 10 percent.
  • And as unemployment rose to record levels, people have stopped spending so freely, causing prices to drop.
quantity, amount, extent, measure, degree, volume, size, magnitude, intensity, proportion
1.1A social, moral, or intellectual standard: at six he could play chess at an advanced level
More example sentences
  • We can learn a great deal about the moral level of the reigning intellectual culture of the West by observing the reaction to this demand.
  • Many a girl drops out even at the primary level because of social compulsions.
  • Decent educational levels will automatically lessen social problems and crime as well as boosting self esteem and confidence.
1.2A position in a real or notional hierarchy: a fairly junior level of management
More example sentences
  • Though few have broken into the top echelons of power, the junior and middle management levels are full of women.
  • Important changes have also occurred in the middle levels of the class hierarchy.
  • The rest are stuck at the lower and middle levels of the managerial hierarchy.
rank, standing, status, position;
echelon, degree, grade, gradation, stage, standard, rung;
class, stratum, group, grouping, set, classification
2A height or distance from the ground or another stated or understood base: storms caused river levels to rise
More example sentences
  • Riverside homeowners were keeping one eye firmly on the clouds today as river levels rose even higher through the night.
  • There was a slight rise in the river level of a few inches.
  • My studies also demonstrated that the rainfall, river flow and groundwater levels are increasing.
height, altitude, elevation
3 Gaming (In a computer game) each of a series of stages of increasing difficulty through which a player may progress, completing one stage in order to reach the next: I’ve now reached level 106 on Candy Crush Saga
3.1(Especially in a role-playing game) each of a number of steps in the development of a character, who progressively acquires enhanced skills and abilities within the game as the player advances by completing tasks and earning points: you can easily take a character to level 20 in less than 15 hours and finish the campaign
Image of level
4A device consisting of a sealed glass tube partially filled with alcohol or other liquid, containing an air bubble whose position reveals whether a surface is perfectly level or plumb. Also called spirit level, bubble level.
Example sentences
  • I even used a level to measure properly!
  • Scrape the top layer smooth using a level to guide you.
  • A level can be used to straighten out rows of bricks.
4.1 Surveying An instrument for giving a horizontal line of sight.
Example sentences
  • Generally, the most accurate beach survey data are obtained using a surveying level.
  • A laser level is the modern way of doing surveying.
5A flat tract of land: flooded levels
More example sentences
  • Between the water and the land is a vast, flat level of grassy mud.
  • The basin of the Peneus expands into a vast level towards the southeast.
  • The moors and levels are formed from a submerged and reclaimed landscape.


1Having a flat and even surface without slopes or bumps: we had reached level ground
More example sentences
  • The surface should be level, free draining and, if possible, subject to frost prevention.
  • When we finally made it back to the gate the nice paved paths seemed an oasis of smooth level ground.
  • Assemble the table on a level surface, turn the top wheel upside down and place the seat wheel on top of it.
flat, smooth, even, uniform, plane, flush, plumb
1.1At the same height as someone or something else: his eyes were level with hers
More example sentences
  • Bringing his eyes level with Luke, Adam surveyed him calmly.
  • Even standing, her head only drew level with my chest.
  • The kitchen has a range of eye and floor level units and is plumbed for a dishwasher and washing machine.
1.2Having the same relative position; not in front of or behind: the car braked suddenly, then backed rapidly until it was level with me
More example sentences
  • Racing to the third bend he gained on the leader and drew level coming out of it.
  • I quickened my pace so that I was level with her.
  • As we came level with the silver saloon, I was absolutely amazed to see the driver holding a camcorder to his face.
1.3(Of a quantity of a dry substance) with the contents not rising above the brim of the measure: a level teaspoon of salt
More example sentences
  • Split each pitta in half horizontally, and spread each with one level tablespoon of passata.
  • Add a level tablespoon of dried mint to the soup when you reheat it.
  • Put some olive oil in a shallow pan with a level dessertspoon of tomato purée.
1.4Unchanged; not having risen or fallen: earnings were level at 57 cents a share
More example sentences
  • You can choose to receive a level income, or have your payouts rise in line with inflation.
  • Shares were level from there and closed at $3.86.
  • Studios have seen level prices over the past three years with the average rental rate at €910 per month.
2Calm and steady: “Adrian,” she said in her most level voice
More example sentences
  • He speaks with the calm, level voice of a professional scientist.
  • He said it in a calm, level tone, but the icy look he gave me told me what he was thinking.
  • She returned it with a level gaze, betraying none of the anxiety she felt inside.
unchanging, steady, unvarying, even, uniform, regular, constant, invariable, unaltering;
calm, unemotional, composed, equable, unruffled, serene, tranquil

verb (levels, leveling, leveled; also chiefly British levels, levelling, levelled)

1 [with object] Give a flat and even surface to: contractors started leveling the ground for the new power station
More example sentences
  • Tap on a work surface to level the mixture, then put in the freezer.
  • The work is expected to take about a year during which time the surface will be levelled, drained and reseeded and flood lighting installed.
  • By early afternoon the ground was leveled, smoothed over and trimmed.
make level, level out/off, make even, even out, make flat, flatten, smooth, smooth out, make uniform
1.1 Surveying Ascertain differences in the height of (land).
1.2Demolish (a building or town): bulldozers are now waiting to level their home
More example sentences
  • A massive explosion in the air sent shockwaves through the town and leveled the few buildings that had survived.
  • A third house was levelled in the nearby town of Dura.
  • As well as levelling the town, the quake has also destroyed what remained of the ancient city and its sixteenth century citadel.
raze, demolish, flatten, topple, destroy;
tear down, knock down, pull down, bulldoze
2 [no object] (level off/out) Begin to fly horizontally after climbing or diving.
Example sentences
  • Relieved, I leveled off and once again began dealing with those knotty little details like useless gauges - both my airspeed and my fuel gauge read zero.
  • Just as everybody's life finished flashing before their eyes, the jet began to level out as the wheels hit the runway with a sharp jolt.
  • The aircraft immediately began to level out from its spiral.
2.1(Of a path, road, or incline) cease to slope upward or downward: the track leveled out, and there below us was the bay
More example sentences
  • After this the path levels out for about 400m before sloping down to a small car park by the side of the road.
  • The path levels out to provide expansive seaward views.
  • At the foot of the hill, as the path levels out and enters a fringe of larches, leave the narrow footpath and drop down to your right.
2.2Cease to fall or rise in number, amount, or quantity: inflation has leveled out at an acceptable rate
More example sentences
  • House prices in North Yorkshire are levelling out.
  • What they show is that the rapid influx of mothers with young children into the workplace has leveled off and fallen, slightly.
  • Soon global population will level off and then likely fall for a protracted period of time.
2.3 [with object] (level something up/down) Increase or reduce the amount, number, or quantity of something in order to remove a disparity.
Example sentences
  • By forcing the internet to be accessible to everyone, there is a risk that we are levelling it down, reducing its potential to suit many competing, latent, unrealised needs.
  • The European Union has always been sold as an integration in which living standards would be leveled up, not down.
  • All too often, what that means is levelling skills down rather than encouraging the most talented players to forge ahead and realise their potential.
3 [with object] Aim (a weapon): he leveled a long-barreled pistol at us
More example sentences
  • The two grunted angrily, leveling their weapons at her.
  • The eight men were leveling their weapons at the truck.
  • The guards leveled their weapons, and everybody shut up.
aim, point, direct, train, focus, turn, sight
3.1Direct (a criticism or accusation): accusations of corruption had been leveled against him
More example sentences
  • Criticism was levelled at each of the professions involved.
  • Care should be taken with the manner in which criticism was levelled at other countries' leaders.
  • This has led to all sorts of unfair and unsubstantiated accusations being leveled against me.
4 [no object] (level with) informal Be frank or honest with (someone): when are you going to level with me?
More example sentences
  • But the image of him taking control and levelling with people in an honest and compassionate way has been burned into the American psyche.
  • You're not levelling with me, sweetheart.
  • That would require levelling with the American people about unpleasant realities and the difficult choices that lie ahead.
be frank with, be open with, be honest with, be aboveboard with, tell the truth to, tell all to, hide nothing from, be straightforward with, be upfront with
informal come clean with, set the record straight with



do one's level best

Do one’s utmost; make all possible efforts.
Example sentences
  • Everyone here did their level best to meet productivity levels to international standards and beyond.
  • I will do my level best to conclude this inquest as soon as I possibly can.
  • The people here are doing their level best to help sort out the problems facing farmers.

find its (own) level

(Of a liquid) reach the same height in containers that are interconnected.
Example sentences
  • This is a gentle, natural process, like water finding its own level when poured on the ground.
  • After about 5-10 minutes the water has found its level and the gates can easily be opened.
  • Long before an infant understands that milk finds its own level he or she learns to up-end the bottle to feed.
2.1Reach a stable level, value, or position without interference.
Example sentences
  • The currency was allowed to find its own level and deflation, not inflation, was identified as the major enemy.
  • One good thing about market forces is that every institution or sector finds its own level.
  • Like anything, a new upheaval just finds its level.

find one's (own) level

(Of a person) reach a position or competency that seems appropriate and natural in relation to one’s associates.
Example sentences
  • Unkind commentators might suggest that in choosing such opponents, the Irish had found their own level.
  • They seem to have found their level now they have entered the full national leagues.
  • Pessimists will be inclined to predict that Scotland have found their level.

a level playing field

A situation in which everyone has a fair and equal chance of succeeding.
Example sentences
  • It will be interesting to go to the new circuit as it puts everyone back on a level playing field.
  • This would create a level playing field and make the system fairer.
  • When it comes to access to information, not everyone's looking for a level playing field.

on a level with

In the same horizontal plane as.
Example sentences
  • She was on a level with it, and so near that she could have reached out and touched its ropes.
  • The camera is positioned as though it is a human actually observing a scene, so that the actors' heads are on a level with the focus.
  • However, when the flag is displayed on the floor of a church or auditorium, on a level with the audience, it is placed to the right of the audience.
5.1Equal with: they were treated as menials, on a level with cooks
More example sentences
  • They were restless men who ‘put themselves on a level with princes’.
  • I can run on a level with thousands of other runners.
  • Wagner, whose significance to our culture is on a level with Shakespeare or Da Vinci, was a composer whose opinions were neither modest nor moderate.

on the level

informal Honest; truthful: Eddie said my story was on the level
More example sentences
  • In fact, all those insults come from real guests who think the show is on the level.
  • I realize we weren't totally on the level, but it's not like it was an actual scam.
  • The average person wants to be on the level, and also knows that an accountant who takes chances puts all of his or her clients in danger of audit.
genuine, straight, honest, aboveboard, fair, true, sincere, straightforward, trustworthy
informal upfront, on the up and up

take something to the next level

Further improve or develop something that is already successful: five years after founding my software company, I’m ready to take it to the next level
More example sentences
  • You need to be prepared to take things to the next level.
  • Coaching is a special process that takes the dancer to the next level.
  • Basically, he needs to push himself and try and take his music to the next level.



Pronunciation: /ˈlevəlē/
sense 2 of the adjective.
Example sentences
  • I gazed at him levelly, making it clear that I was not impressed.
  • ‘It was,’ he says levelly, ‘the worst experience of my life.’
  • ‘Do you know,’ his father spoke levelly, ‘how much money I lost today because of your little prank?’


Example sentences
  • ‘I haven't finished, Milord,’ he went on with that same, cutting levelness.
  • I periodically check the trackwork for levelness and irregularities.
  • The floor levelness was not important for the project.

Phrasal verbs

level up

Gaming (Especially in a role-playing game) progress to the next level: you can collect runes and use them as you level up to increase the power of your weapons
(level something up)1.1 (In a role-playing game) advance one’s character to the next level of development: build your army, level up your hero, purchase equipment, and challenge your friends to massive battles


Middle English (denoting an instrument to determine whether a surface is horizontal): from Old French livel, based on Latin libella, diminutive of libra 'scales, balance'.

  • The ultimate root of level is Latin libra ‘scales, balance’, also the source of the sign of the zodiac Libra (Late Middle English). It has many senses in English, the earliest being ‘an instrument used to determine if a surface is horizontal’, as in spirit level (mid 18th century). Since the 1980s the image of a level playing field has been a cliché of business and politics. In games, an uneven playing surface will favour the home side, who will be more familiar with its hazards. See also deliberate

Words that rhyme with level

bedevil, bevel, devil, dishevel, kevel, revel, split-level

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lev·el

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