lever

noun
le·​ver | \ ˈle-vər How to pronounce lever (audio) , ˈlē- How to pronounce lever (audio) \

Definition of lever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a bar used for prying or dislodging something
b : an inducing or compelling force : tool use food as a political leverTime
2a : a rigid piece that transmits and modifies force or motion when forces are applied at two points and it turns about a third specifically : a rigid bar used to exert a pressure or sustain a weight at one point of its length by the application of a force at a second and turning at a third on a fulcrum
b : a projecting piece by which a mechanism (see mechanism sense 1) is operated or adjusted

lever

verb
levered; levering\ ˈle-​və-​riŋ How to pronounce levering (audio) , ˈlē-​ ; ˈlev-​riŋ , ˈlēv-​ \

Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to pry, raise, or move with or as if with a lever
2 : to operate (a device) in the manner of a lever

Illustration of lever

Illustration of lever

Noun

lever 2a

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for lever

Synonyms: Verb

jimmy, prize, pry

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of lever in a Sentence

Noun

They used their money as a lever to gain political power.

Verb

He levered the rock out of the hole. the workers used crowbars to lever the heavy stone block into its new position
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Democrats—despite almost 50 years of knowledge about the Powell Memo—have utterly failed to grasp the memo’s basic argument: That the ability to make change comes to those who strategically and methodically focus on the levers of power. Adam Eichen, The New Republic, "After 48 Years, Democrats Still Haven’t Gotten the Memo," 23 July 2019 On the other hand, policy makers now have fewer levers left to pull. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Deflation Stalks Chinese Industry Again," 10 July 2019 In the American blood sport of college admissions, the rich have long had more levers to pull. Ben Steverman, Bloomberg.com, "Rich Parents Have Plenty of Ways to Game the U.S. Education System," 12 Mar. 2019 The portable flotation device basically works like an air bag in your car: In the case of an emergency, the wearer pulls the lever to inflate a small bag that can float anyone up to 275 pounds. Rori Kotch, Country Living, "This Life Vest Alternative Might Completely Change How You Swim," 8 July 2015 Compared with inflation and employment, trade offers Trump an immediate lever to affect the economic outlook. Los Angeles Times, "Stock traders face a brutal 72 hours, caught in a Trump-Powell squeeze," 2 Aug. 2019 Every time the minimum wage goes up, so does the pay of nearly a quarter of Australians, making it a powerful lever to affect the economy as a whole. The Economist, "Australia has the world’s highest minimum wage," 20 July 2019 Re-engaged after sitting for one or two minutes and moving the shift lever. Freep.com, "FREE PRESS INVESTIGATION: OUT OF GEAR Ford knew Focus, Fiesta models had flawed transmission, sold them anyway," 11 July 2019 But when asked about whether Medicare will negotiate drugs — as Democrats have called for and the president has talked about — administration officials said that lever would not be pulled. Washington Post, "Trump Vows (Again) To Lower Drug Prices But Skeptics Doubt Much Will Change," 11 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some analysts have expressed concern that shrinking revenue, modest earnings growth and a ballooning balance sheet could cause the company to lever up too quickly for the next deal. Kimberly Chin, WSJ, "Kraft Heinz Write-Downs Raise Doubts About Its Future Path," 22 Feb. 2019 What was once the domain of a handful of big players like AerCap and GE Capital Aviation Services, levering insider knowledge of planes and airlines, is now a patchwork of 20 or so smaller lessors trading similar aircraft at ever lower margins. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Aircraft Investors Should Be More Grounded," 25 Jan. 2019 Were it to lever up to two times Ebitda, Altria could spend another $6 billion on top of its Cronos investment without upsetting investors. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Marijuana Won’t Keep Marlboro Man Buzzing," 7 Dec. 2018 All would reduce the incentive and ability to lever up the housing stock. Emily Stewart, Vox, "How close are we to another financial crisis? 8 experts weigh in.," 18 Sep. 2018 No matter which levers Mr. Lampert pulled, Sears racked up hefty losses. Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, "Sears Reshaped America, From Kenmore to Allstate," 15 Oct. 2018 The hat was then turned 90 degrees and levered onto the statue’s head and the ramp was removed, forming wings on either side of the moai that still exist. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Clever Way the Easter Island Statues Got Hats," 13 June 2018 That means the hats must have been levered upward and then tilted down onto the head of the statue. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "How does a preindustrial society put a 13-ton hat on a statue?," 5 June 2018 If the old washer is hard to remove, try levering it off with a screwdriver. The Editors Of House Beautiful, House Beautiful, "How to Fix a Clogged Sink and Leaky Faucet," 11 Feb. 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lever.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of lever

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lever

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French levier, lever, from lever to raise, from Latin levare, from levis light in weight — more at light

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lever

Statistics for lever

Last Updated

20 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lever

The first known use of lever was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lever

lever

noun

English Language Learners Definition of lever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a strong bar that is used to lift and move something heavy
: a bar or rod that is used to operate or adjust something on a machine, vehicle, device, etc.
: something used to achieve a desired result

lever

verb

English Language Learners Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

: to lift or move (something) with a lever

lever

noun
le·​ver | \ ˈle-vər How to pronounce lever (audio) , ˈlē-\

Kids Definition of lever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a bar used to pry or move something
2 : a stiff bar for lifting a weight at one point of its length by pressing or pulling at a second point while the bar turns on a support
3 : a bar or rod used to run or adjust something a gearshift lever

lever

verb
levered; levering

Kids Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

: to raise or move with a bar

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lever

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lever

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lever

Spanish Central: Translation of lever

Nglish: Translation of lever for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lever for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lever

Comments on lever

What made you want to look up lever? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not constant or steady

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!