[ lev-er, lee-ver ]
See synonyms for lever on Thesaurus.com
  1. Mechanics. a rigid bar that pivots about one point and that is used to move an object at a second point by a force applied at a third.: Compare machine (def. 4b).

  2. a tool, as a pry or a crowbar, for raising, moving, or opening something by leverage: There's a small lever in my toolbox that'll be perfect for prying off these narrow moldings.

  1. a handle or bar that is manipulated to operate, control, or adjust a machine, mechanism, etc.: Pushing down the lever on the left will automatically open the door.

  2. a means or agency of persuading or of achieving an end: Saying that the chairman of the board likes the plan is just a lever to get us to support it.

  3. Horology. the pallet of an escapement.

verb (used with or without object)
  1. to move with or apply a lever: to lever a rock; to lever mightily and to no avail.

Origin of lever

1250–1300; Middle English levere, levour for *lever<Anglo-French; Old French levier, equivalent to lev(er) to lift (<Latin levāre to lighten, lift, verbal derivative of levis light) + -ier-ier2

Other words from lever

  • re·lev·er, verb (used with object)

Words Nearby lever

Other definitions for Lever (2 of 2)

[ lee-ver ]

  1. Charles James "Cornelius O'Dowd", 1806–72, Irish novelist and essayist.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use lever in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lever


/ (ˈliːvə) /

  1. a rigid bar pivoted about a fulcrum, used to transfer a force to a load and usually to provide a mechanical advantage

  2. any of a number of mechanical devices employing this principle

  1. a means of exerting pressure in order to accomplish something; strategic aid

  1. to prise or move (an object) with a lever

Origin of lever

C13: from Old French leveour, from lever to raise, from Latin levāre, from levis light

Derived forms of lever

  • lever-like, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for lever


[ lĕvər ]

  1. A simple machine consisting of a bar that pivots on a fixed support, or fulcrum, and is used to transmit torque. A force applied by pushing down on one end of the lever results in a force pushing up at the other end. If the fulcrum is not positioned in the middle of the lever, then the force applied to one end will not yield the same force on the other, since the torque must be the same on either side of the fulcrum. Levers, like gears, can thus be used to increase the force available from a mechanical power source. See more at fulcrum. See also mechanical advantage.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.