[ lift ]
See synonyms for: liftliftedliftingliftable on

verb (used with object)
  1. to move or bring (something) upward from the ground or other support to a higher position; hoist.

  2. to raise or direct upward: He lifted his arm in a gesture of farewell;to lift one's head.

  1. to remove or rescind by an official act, as a ban, curfew, or tax: a court decision to lift the ban on strikes by teachers.

  2. to stop or put an end to (a boycott, blockade, etc.): The citizenry will have to conserve food and water until the siege against the city is lifted.

  3. to hold up or display on high.

  4. to raise in rank, condition, estimation, etc.; elevate or exalt (sometimes used reflexively): His first book lifted him from obscurity.By hard work they lifted themselves from poverty.

  5. to make audible or louder, as the voice or something voiced: The congregation lifted their voices in song.

  6. to transfer from one setting to another: For the protagonist of the new play, the author has lifted a character from an early novel.

  7. Informal. to plagiarize: Whole passages had been lifted from another book.

  8. Informal. to steal: His wallet was lifted on the crowded subway.

  9. to remove (plants and tubers) from the ground, as after harvest or for transplanting.

  10. Horology. (of an escape wheel) to move (a pallet) by moving along the outer, oblique face.

  11. to pay off (a mortgage, promissory note, etc.).

  12. Golf. to pick up (the ball), as to move it from an unplayable lie.

  13. to perform a surgical lift on.

  14. Shipbuilding.

    • to transfer (measurements and the like) from a drawing, model, etc., to a piece being built.

    • to form (a template) according to a drawing, model, etc.

  15. to cease temporarily from directing (fire or bombardment) on an objective or area: They lifted the fire when the infantry began to advance.

  16. Fox Hunting. to take (hounds) from the line of a fox to where it has just been seen.

verb (used without object)
  1. to go up; yield to upward pressure: The box is too heavy to lift.The lid won't lift.

  2. to pull or strain upward in the effort to raise something: to lift at a heavy weight.

  1. to move upward or rise; rise and disperse, as clouds or fog.

  2. (of rain) to stop temporarily.

  3. to rise to view above the horizon when approached, as land seen from the sea.

  1. the act of lifting, raising, or rising: the lift of a hand.

  2. the distance that anything rises or is raised: a lift of 20 feet between canal locks.

  1. a lifting or raising force: A kite depends on the wind to act as its lift.

  2. the weight, load, or quantity lifted.

  3. an act or instance of helping to climb or mount: He gave her a lift onto the wagon.

  4. a ride in a vehicle, especially one given to a pedestrian: Can you give me a lift across town?

  5. a feeling of exaltation or uplift: Their visit gave me quite a lift.

  6. assistance or aid: The fund-raiser's successful efforts proved a great lift for the organization.

  7. a device or apparatus for lifting:a hydraulic lift.

  8. a movement in which a dancer, skater, etc., lifts up his partner.

  9. a cosmetic surgery that lifts and tightens a specified part of the body and removes excess skin and fat:an arm lift;a breast lift;a buttocks lift.

  10. Skiing.

  11. British.

  12. Informal. a theft.

  13. a rise or elevation of ground.

  14. Aeronautics. the component of the aerodynamic force exerted by the air on an airfoil, having a direction perpendicular to the direction of motion and causing an aircraft to stay aloft.

  15. Nautical.

    • the capacity of a cargo ship measured in dead-weight tons.

  16. one of the layers of leather forming the heel of a boot or shoe.

  17. a special arch support built or inserted into footwear.

  18. Mining. the slice or thickness of ore mined in one operation.

  19. Building Trades. the height of the quantity of concrete poured into a form at one time.

  20. Naval Architecture. any of the horizontal planks forming a type of half model (lift mod·el ), able to be removed and measured as a guide to laying out the water lines of the vessel at full scale.

  21. Typesetting. fat (def. 23).

  22. Printing. the quantity of paper loaded into or removed from a press or other printing machine at one time.

  23. Horology.

    • the displacement of a pallet by an escape wheel that has been unlocked.

    • the angle through which the pallet passes when so displaced.

Origin of lift

First recorded in 1250–1300; 1955–60 for def. 10; Middle English liften, from Old Norse lypta, derivative of lopt “air,” cognate with German lüften literally, “to take aloft”; see loft

synonym study For lift

1. See raise.

Other words for lift

Opposites for lift

Other words from lift

  • lift·a·ble, adjective
  • lift·er, noun
  • un·der·lift, noun
  • un·lift·a·ble, adjective
  • un·lift·ed, adjective
  • un·lift·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use lift in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lift (1 of 2)


/ (lɪft) /

  1. to rise or cause to rise upwards from the ground or another support to a higher place: to lift a sack

  2. to move or cause to move upwards: to lift one's eyes

  1. (tr) to take hold of in order to carry or remove: to lift something down from a shelf

  2. (tr) to raise in status, spirituality, estimation, etc: his position lifted him from the common crowd

  3. (tr) to revoke or rescind: to lift tax restrictions

  4. to make or become audible or louder: to lift one's voice in song

  5. (tr) to take (plants or underground crops) out of the ground for transplanting or harvesting

  6. (intr) to disappear by lifting or as if by lifting: the fog lifted

  7. to transport in a vehicle

  8. (tr) informal to take unlawfully or dishonourably; steal

  9. (tr) informal to make dishonest use of (another person's idea, writing, etc); plagiarize

  10. (tr) slang to arrest

  11. (tr) to perform a face-lift on

  12. (tr) US and Canadian to pay off (a mortgage, etc)

  1. the act or an instance of lifting

  2. the power or force available or used for lifting

    • British a platform, compartment, or cage raised or lowered in a vertical shaft to transport persons or goods in a building: US and Canadian word: elevator

  1. the distance or degree to which something is lifted

  2. a usually free ride as a passenger in a car or other vehicle

  3. a rise in the height of the ground

  4. a rise in morale or feeling of cheerfulness usually caused by some specific thing or event

  5. the force required to lift an object

  6. a layer of the heel of a shoe, etc, or a detachable pad inside the shoe to give the wearer added height

  7. aid; help

  8. mining

    • the thickness of ore extracted in one operation

    • a set of pumps used in a mine

    • the component of the aerodynamic forces acting on a wing, etc, at right angles to the airflow

    • the upward force exerted by the gas in a balloon, airship, etc

Origin of lift

C13: from Scandinavian; related to Old Norse lypta, Old English lyft sky; compare loft

Derived forms of lift

  • liftable, adjective
  • lifter, noun

British Dictionary definitions for lift (2 of 2)


/ (lɪft) /

  1. Scot the sky

Origin of lift

Old English lyft

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 lift


[ lĭft ]

  1. An upward force acting on an object. Lift can be produced in many ways; for example, by creating a low-pressure area above an object, such an airplane wing or other airfoil that is moving through the air, or by lowering the overall density of an object relative to the air around it, as with a hot air balloon. Compare drag. See also airfoil buoyancy. See Note at aerodynamics.

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