lev·​i·​gate ˈle-və-ˌgāt How to pronounce levigate (audio)
levigated; levigating

transitive verb

: to grind to a fine smooth powder while in moist condition
: to separate (fine powder) from coarser material by suspending in a liquid
levigation noun

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The Origin of Levigate

Levigate comes from Latin levigatus, the past participle of the verb levigare ("to make smooth"). Levigare is derived in part from levis, the Latin word for "smooth." Alleviate and levity can also be traced back to a Latin levis, and the levi- root in both words might suggest a close relationship with levigate. This is not the case, however. The Latin levis that gives us alleviate and levity does not mean "smooth," but "light" (in the sense of having little weight).

Word History


borrowed from Latin lēvigātus, past participle of lēvigāre "to make smooth," from lēvis "smooth, free from surface irregularity, of even consistency" + -igāre, causative and factitive suffix; lēvis perhaps going back to pre-Latin *lēiw-i-, going back to a u-stem adjective *lēi̯-u-, going back to Indo-European *leh1-u-, whence also, from a thematized *leh1iu̯o-, Greek leîos "smooth" — more at fumigate

First Known Use

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of levigate was in 1612


Dictionary Entries Near levigate

Cite this Entry

“Levigate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/levigate. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


transitive verb
lev·​i·​gate ˈlev-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce levigate (audio)
levigated; levigating
: to grind to a fine smooth powder while in moist condition
by first levigating the zinc oxide with a small amount of glycerin a smooth paste is obtainedArt of Compounding
levigation noun
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