lev·​i·​ty | \ ˈle-və-tē How to pronounce levity (audio) \

Definition of levity

1 : excessive or unseemly frivolity She would tolerate no levity in the classroom.
2 : lack of steadiness : changeableness the levity … of the brisk fire— Charles Dickens

Keep scrolling for more

Levity Was Once a Scientific Term

Levity originally was thought to be a physical force exactly like gravity but pulling in the opposite direction, like the helium in a balloon. As recently as the 19th century, scientists were still arguing about its existence. Today levity refers only to lightness in manner. To stern believers of some religious faiths, levity is often regarded as almost sinful. But the word, like its synonym frivolity, now has an old-fashioned ring to it and is usually used only half-seriously.

Examples of levity in a Sentence

They managed to find some levity in the situation. the teachers disapprove of any displays of levity during school assemblies
Recent Examples on the Web Having easy video access to my parents through the worst part of the pandemic was an admittedly mixed blessing, giving me a front-row seat to their sadness and frustration, but also to moments of levity. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, 4 Oct. 2021 Her paintings are whimsical and colorful, adding a touch of levity to any space. Nafeesah Allen, House Beautiful, 27 Sep. 2021 The fatigue was briefly alleviated by moments of levity. Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2021 The subject matter is heavy but manages to incorporate moments of levity as Evan attempts to navigate the crisis at hand. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 23 Sep. 2021 During those painful days, in an effort to create a bit of levity in that cold and stark room, the family would play McCreery's then almost completed new album Same Truck. Tricia Despres, PEOPLE.com, 20 Sep. 2021 Nick Saban famously enjoys this joke and has been known to use it with players in a moment of levity. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, 14 Sep. 2021 Kevin Hart and Snoop Dogg will bring some levity to the Games with a highlights show showcasing feats of great athleticism and some moments that didn't exactly go according to plan. Nasha Smith, Forbes, 23 June 2021 But where Ghost was Richard Pryor, laughing at his own experiences in an attempt to bring some levity to darkness, Mach is a Haitian soldier. Jayson Buford, Rolling Stone, 22 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'levity.' 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 levity

1564, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for levity

Latin levitat-, levitas, from levis light in weight — more at light

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About levity

Dictionary Entries Near levity




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for levity

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Levity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/levity. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for levity



English Language Learners Definition of levity

: a lack of seriousness
: an amusing quality

More from Merriam-Webster on levity

Nglish: Translation of levity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of levity for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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