[lev-er-ij, lee-ver-]
See more synonyms for leverage on Thesaurus.com
  1. the action of a lever, 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.
  2. the mechanical advantage or power gained by using a lever.
  3. power or ability to act or to influence people, events, decisions, etc.; sway: Being the only industry in town gave the company considerable leverage in its union negotiations.
  4. the use of a small initial investment, credit, or borrowed funds to gain a very high return in relation to one's investment, to control a much larger investment, or to reduce one's own liability for any loss.
verb (used with object), lev·er·aged, lev·er·ag·ing.
  1. to use (a quality or advantage) to obtain a desired effect or result: She was able to leverage her travel experience and her gift for languages to get a job as a translator.
  2. to provide with leverage: The board of directors plans to leverage two failing branches of the company with an influx of cash.
  3. to invest or arrange (invested funds) using leverage.
  4. to exert power or influence on: It was Joe who leveraged her to change her habits.

Origin of leverage

First recorded in 1715–25; lever + -age
Related formsnon·lev·er·aged, adjectiveun·lev·er·aged, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for leverage

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Historical Examples of leverage

British Dictionary definitions for leverage


  1. the action of a lever
  2. the mechanical advantage gained by employing a lever
  3. power to accomplish something; strategic advantage
  4. the enhanced power available to a large companythe supermarket chains have greater leverage than single-outlet enterprises
  5. US word for gearing (def. 3)
  6. the use made by a company of its limited assets to guarantee the substantial loans required to finance its business
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 leverage

1724, "action of a lever," from lever (n.) + -age. Meaning "power or force of a lever" is from 1827; figurative sense from 1858. The financial sense is attested by 1933, American English; as a verb by 1956. Related: Leveraged; leverages; leveraging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

leverage in Culture


The amount in which a purchase is paid for in borrowed money. The greater the leverage, the greater the possible gain or potential loss.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.