Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A simple machine consisting of a rigid bar pivoted on a fixed point and used to transmit force, as in raising or moving a weight at one end by pushing down on the other.
  • n. A projecting handle used to adjust or operate a mechanism.
  • n. A means of accomplishing; a tool: used friendship as a lever to obtain advancement.
  • transitive v. To move or lift with or as if with a lever.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Rather.
  • n. A rigid piece which is capable of turning about one point, or axis (the fulcrum), and in which are two or more other points where forces are applied; — used for transmitting and modifying force and motion.
  • n. A small such piece to trigger or control a mechanical device (like a button)
  • n. A bar, as a capstan bar, applied to a rotatory piece to turn it.
  • n. An arm on a rock shaft, to give motion to the shaft or to obtain motion from it.
  • v. To move with a lever.
  • v. (transitive) To use, operate like a lever.
  • v. To increase the share of debt in the capitalization of a business.
  • n. A levee.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. More agreeable; more pleasing.
  • adv. Rather.
  • n. A rigid piece which is capable of turning about one point, or axis (the fulcrum), and in which are two or more other points where forces are applied; -- used for transmitting and modifying force and motion. Specif., a bar of metal, wood, or other rigid substance, used to exert a pressure, or sustain a weight, at one point of its length, by receiving a force or power at a second, and turning at a third on a fixed point called a fulcrum. It is usually named as the first of the six mechanical powers, and is of three kinds, according as either the fulcrum F, the weight W, or the power P, respectively, is situated between the other two, as in the figures.
  • n.
  • n. A bar, as a capstan bar, applied to a rotatory piece to turn it.
  • n. An arm on a rock shaft, to give motion to the shaft or to obtain motion from it.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To act upon, as raising, lowering, etc., with a lever.
  • An obsolete comparative of lief.
  • n. A simple machine, consisting of a bar or rigid piece of any shape, acted upon at different points by two forces which severally tend to rotate it in opposite directions about a fixed axis.
  • n. In special uses— In surgery, an instrument for applying power, as one of the arms of an obstetrical forceps, used in delivery as a tractor; the vectis.
  • n. In dentistry, an instrument used in extracting the stumps of teeth.
  • n. In a steam-engine, a bar used to control by hand the movement of the engine in starting or reversing it; a starting-bar.
  • n. In firearms, in some forms of breech-loaders, the piece by which the gun is opened or closed, as in the Douglas, Henry, and Maynard rifles. It may be a top, side, or under lever.
  • n. One of the chief supporters of the roof-timber of a house, being itself not a prop, but a part of the framework.
  • n. The lower movable board of a barn-door.
  • n. The first row of a fishing-net.
  • n. Generally, a rod or bar.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. to move or force, especially in an effort to get something open
  • n. a flat metal tumbler in a lever lock
  • n. a simple machine that gives a mechanical advantage when given a fulcrum
  • n. a rigid bar pivoted about a fulcrum

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French levier, from lever, to raise, from Latin levāre, from levis, light.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French leveor, leveur ("a lifter, lever (also Old French and French levier)"), from Latin levator ("a lifter"), from levare, past part. levatus ("to raise"); see levant. Compare alleviate, elevate, leaven. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English comparative of leve ("dear") of Germanic origin (compare German lieb) or lief. (Wiktionary)
From French lever. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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