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

  • n. An embankment raised to prevent a river from overflowing.
  • n. A small ridge or raised area bordering an irrigated field.
  • n. A landing place on a river; a pier.
  • transitive v. To provide with a levee.
  • n. A reception held, as by royalty, upon arising from bed.
  • n. A formal reception, as at a royal court.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An embankment to prevent inundation; as, the levees along the Mississippi.
  • n. The steep bank of a river, or border of an irrigated field.
  • n. A pier or other landing place on a river.
  • v. To keep within a channel by means of levees.
  • n. The act of rising; getting up, especially in the morning after rest.
  • n. A reception of visitors held after getting up.
  • n. A formal reception, especially one given by royalty or other leaders.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of rising.
  • n. A morning assembly or reception of visitors, -- in distinction from a soirée, or evening assembly; a matinée; hence, also, any general or somewhat miscellaneous gathering of guests, whether in the daytime or evening.
  • n. An embankment to prevent inundation; ; sometimes, the steep bank of a river.
  • transitive v. To attend the levee or levees of.
  • transitive v. To keep within a channel by means of levees.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To embank: as, to levee a river.
  • To attend the levee of; fasten one's self on, or pester, at levees.
  • n. An embankment on the margin of a river, to confine it within its natural channel: as, the levees of the Mississippi.
  • n. Hence A landing-place for vessels; a quay, pier, or landing-stage.
  • n. The act or time of rising.
  • n. A morning reception held by a prince or great personage; a morning assembly.
  • n. A general or miscellaneous assemblage of guests, without reference to the time of day; a reception: as, the president's levee.
  • n. In irrigation, one of the small continuous ridges of earth surrounding the fields, or compartments, of land that is to be irrigated.

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

  • n. a pier that provides a landing place on a river
  • n. an embankment that is built in order to prevent a river from overflowing
  • n. a formal reception of visitors or guests (as at a royal court)


French levée, from Old French levee, from feminine past participle of lever, to raise; see lever.
From French lever, a rising, from Old French, from lever, to raise, rise; see lever.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French levée, from lever ("to raise, rise"). (Wiktionary)
From French levé ("risen"). (Wiktionary)



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  • "Basil had attended Sonia's levees (and there were three or four levees daily for, whenever she was at home, she was in bed) off and on for nearly ten yerars, since the days of her first, dazzling loveliness, when, almost alone among the chaste and daring brides of London, she had admitted mixed company to her bathroom."

    -from Put Out More Flags

    January 14, 2010

  • Great was the noise about the court on this double acquisition to the theatre; it became the topic of conversation next day at the king's levee.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 12 ch. 3

    October 11, 2008

  • 'I started singin’,
    "bye-bye, miss american pie."
    Drove my chevy to the levee,
    But the levee was dry.
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
    "this’ll be the day that I die."

    From American Pie by Don McLean, #1 hit in the U.S. for 4 weeks in 1972

    January 23, 2008

  • "When the levee breaks" Led Zeppelin, 1971.

    January 23, 2008

  • This word has an archaic and obsolete definition. It names a procession of visitors received upon waking from sleep but before arising from bed.

    February 18, 2007