lev·er (lĕvər, lēvər)
1. 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.
2. A projecting handle used to adjust or operate a mechanism.
3. A means of accomplishing; a tool: used friendship as a lever to obtain advancement.
tr.v. lev·ered, lev·er·ing, lev·ers
1. To move or lift with a lever: levered up the manhole cover.
2. To move (oneself, for example) in a manner resembling the use of a lever: "[He] levered himself out the window all the way to his waist" (Stephen King).
3. To fund at least in part with borrowed money; leverage.
[Middle English, from Old French levier, from lever, to raise, from Latin levāre, from levis, light; see legwh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.