noun, plural lev·ies.

verb (used with object), lev·ied, lev·y·ing.

verb (used without object), lev·ied, lev·y·ing.

to seize or attach property by judicial order.

Origin of levy

1375–1425; late Middle English leve(e) < Middle French, noun use of feminine past participle of lever to raise < Latin levāre, akin to levis light; cf. levee2
Related formsre·lev·y, verb (used with object), re·lev·ied, re·lev·y·ing.self-lev·ied, adjectiveun·lev·ied, adjective
Can be confusedlevee levy

Synonyms for levy

6. draft, enlist, callup.


[lee-vee, lev-ee for 1; lee-vee, -vahy for 2]


Uriah Phillips,1792–1862, U.S. naval commander.
a male given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for levy

Contemporary Examples of levy

Historical Examples of levy

  • And now this levy for home defence had swept the farms clean.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Their last attempt was to levy a duty upon the things that were re-embarked.

  • Kindly and well-meant advice, but Levy would have none of it.

    The New Land

    Elma Ehrlich Levinger

  • He pushed the dice aside and rose to release Levy from his bonds.

    The New Land

    Elma Ehrlich Levinger

  • Levy hardly knew him for the shy, taciturn playfellow of his boyhood.

    The New Land

    Elma Ehrlich Levinger

British Dictionary definitions for levy


verb levies, levying or levied (tr)

to impose and collect (a tax, tariff, fine, etc)
to conscript troops for service
to seize or attach (property) in accordance with the judgment of a court

noun plural levies

  1. the act of imposing and collecting a tax, tariff, etc
  2. the money so raised
  1. the conscription of troops for service
  2. a person conscripted in this way
Derived Formslevier, noun

Word Origin for levy

C15: from Old French levée a raising, from lever, 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 levy

early 13c., "act of raising or collecting," from Anglo-French leve, from Old French levée "act of raising," noun use of fem. past participle of lever "to raise" (see lever). Originally of taxes, later of men for armies (c.1500). Related: Levied; levying.


"an act of levying," early 15c., from Anglo-French leve, Old French levée "a raising, lifting; levying," noun use of fem. past participle of lever "to raise" (see lever).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper