a. Relative position or rank on a scale: the local level of government; studying at the graduate level.
b. A relative degree, as of achievement, intensity, or concentration: an unsafe level of toxicity; a high level of frustration.
2. A natural or proper position, place, or stage: I finally found my own level in the business world.
3. Position along a vertical axis; height or depth: a platform at knee level.
a. A horizontal line or plane at right angles to the plumb.
b. The position or height of such a line or plane.
5. A flat, horizontal surface.
6. A land area of uniform elevation.
a. An instrument for ascertaining whether a surface is horizontal, vertical, or at a 45° angle, consisting essentially of an encased, liquid-filled tube containing an air bubble that moves to a center window when the instrument is set on an even plane. Also called spirit level.
b. Such a device combined with a telescope and used in surveying.
c. A computation of the difference in elevation between two points by using such a device.
1. Having a flat, smooth surface: a level countertop.
2. Being on a horizontal plane: a level field.
a. Being at the same height or position as another; even.
b. Being at the same degree of rank, standing, or advantage as another; equal.
c. Being or relating to a specified rank or standing. Often used in combination: a lower-level administrator.
4. Exhibiting no abrupt variations; steady: spoke in a level tone.
5. Rational and balanced; sensible: came to a level appraisal of the situation; keeps a level head in an emergency.
6. Filled evenly to the top: a level tablespoon of the medicine.
v. lev·eled, lev·el·ing, lev·els or lev·elled or lev·el·ling
a. To make horizontal, flat, or even: leveled the driveway with a roller; leveled off the hedges with the clippers.
b. To place on the same rank; equalize.
a. To tear down (a building, for example); raze.
b. To knock down, as with a blow; lay low: leveled the opponent with an uppercut.
a. To aim along a horizontal plane: leveled the gun at the target.
b. To direct emphatically or forcefully toward someone: leveled charges of dishonesty. See Synonyms at aim.
4. To measure the different elevations of (a tract of land) with a level.
1. To bring persons or things to an equal level; equalize.
2. To aim a weapon horizontally.
3. Informal To be frank and open: advised the suspect to level with the authorities.
Along a flat or even line or plane.
1. To move toward stability or consistency: Prices leveled off.
2. To maneuver an aircraft into a flight attitude that is parallel to the surface of the earth after gaining or losing altitude.
(one's) level best
The best one can do in an earnest attempt: I did my level best in math class.
on the level Informal
Without deception; honest.
[Middle English, an instrument to check that a surface is horizontal, from Old French livel, from Vulgar Latin *lībellum, from Latin lībella, diminutive of lībra, balance.]
Synonyms: level, flat1, even1, plane1, smooth, flush1
These adjectives describe surfaces without elevations or depressions. Level implies being parallel with the line of the horizon: acres of level farmland. Flat applies to surfaces without curves, protuberances, or indentations: "There were no woods behind the yard, just an expanse of flat cleared land and then a hill that sloped down into the former quarry" (Frederick Reiken).
Even refers to flat surfaces in which no part is higher or lower than another: the even surface of the mirror. Plane is a mathematical term referring to a surface containing all the straight lines connecting any two points on it: a plane figure. Smooth describes a surface on which the absence of irregularities can be established by sight or touch: smooth marble. Flush applies to a surface that is on an exact level with an adjoining one: The door is flush with the wall. See Also Synonyms at aim.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus