See more synonyms for levee on Thesaurus.com
  1. an embankment designed to prevent the flooding of a river.
  2. Geology. natural levee.
  3. Agriculture. one of the small continuous ridges surrounding fields that are to be irrigated.
  4. History/Historical. a landing place for ships; quay.
verb (used with object), lev·eed, lev·ee·ing.
  1. to furnish with a levee: to levee a treacherous stream.

Origin of levee

1710–20, Americanism; < French levée < Medieval Latin levāta embankment, noun use of feminine past participle of Latin levāre to raise, orig. lighten, akin to levis light, not heavy
Can be confusedlevee levy


[lev-ee, le-vee]
  1. (in Great Britain) a public court assembly, held in the early afternoon, at which men only are received.
  2. a reception, usually in someone's honor: a presidential levee at the White House.
  3. History/Historical. a reception of visitors held on rising from bed, as formerly by a royal or other personage.

Origin of levee

1665–75; < French levé, variant spelling of lever rising (noun use of infinitive) < Latin levāre to raise; see levee1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for levee

dam, breakwater, mound, bank, earthwork

Examples from the Web for levee

Contemporary Examples of levee

Historical Examples of levee

British Dictionary definitions for levee


noun US
  1. an embankment alongside a river, produced naturally by sedimentation or constructed by man to prevent flooding
  2. an embankment that surrounds a field that is to be irrigated
  3. a landing place on a river; quay

Word Origin for levee

C18: from French, from Medieval Latin levāta, from Latin levāre to raise


  1. a formal reception held by a sovereign just after rising from bed
  2. (in Britain) a public court reception for men, held in the early afternoon

Word Origin for levee

C17: from French, variant of lever a rising, from Latin levāre to raise
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for levee

1719, "natural or artificial embankment to prevent overflow of a river," from New Orleans French levée "raising, lifting; embankment," from French, originally fem. past participle of lever "to raise," from Latin levare "to raise" (see lever).


"morning assembly held by a prince or king (upon rising from bed)," 1670s, from French lever "a raising," noun use of verb meaning "to raise" (see levee (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

levee in Science


  1. A long ridge of sand, silt, and clay built up by a river along its banks, especially during floods.
  2. An artificial embankment along a rivercourse or an arm of the sea, built to protect adjoining land from inundation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.