I. noun Etymology: Middle English, plumb line, from Anglo-French livel, from Vulgar Latin *libellum, alteration of Latin libella, from diminutive of libra weight, balance Date: 14th century 1. a device for establishing a horizontal line or plane by means of a bubble in a liquid that shows adjustment to the horizontal by movement to the center of a slightly bowed glass tube 2. a measurement of the difference of altitude of two points by means of a level 3. horizontal condition; especially equilibrium of a fluid marked by a horizontal surface of even altitude <
water seeks its own level
4. a. an approximately horizontal line or surface taken as an index of altitude b. a practically horizontal surface or area (as of land) 5. a position in a scale or rank (as of achievement, significance, or value) <
funded at the national level
the job appeals to me on many levels
6. a. a line or surface that cuts perpendicularly all plumb lines that it meets and hence would everywhere coincide with a surface of still water b. the plane of the horizon or a line in it 7. a horizontal passage in a mine intended for regular working and transportation 8. a concentration of a constituent especially of a body fluid (as blood) 9. the magnitude of a quantity considered in relation to an arbitrary reference value; broadly magnitude, intensity <
a high level of hostility
II. verb (-eled or -elled; -eling or levelling) Date: 15th century transitive verb 1. to make (a line or surface) horizontal ; make flat or level <
level a field
level off a house lot
2. a. to bring to a horizontal aiming position b. aim, direct <
leveled a charge of fraud
3. to bring to a common level or plane ; equalize <
love levels all ranks — W. S. Gilbert
4. a. to lay level with or as if with the ground ; raze b. to knock down <
leveled him with one punch
5. to make (as color) even or uniform 6. to find the heights of different points in (a piece of land) especially with a surveyor's level intransitive verb 1. to attain or come to a level <
the plane leveled off at 10,000 feet
2. to aim a gun or other weapon horizontally 3. to bring persons or things to a level 4. to deal frankly and openly III. adjective Date: 15th century 1. a. having no part higher than another ; conforming to the curvature of the liquid parts of the earth's surface b. parallel with the plane of the horizon ; horizontal 2. a. even or unvarying in height b. equal in advantage, progression, or standing c. proceeding monotonously or uneventfully d. (1) steady, unwavering <
gave him a level look
(2) calm, unexcited <
spoke in level tones
3. reasonable, balanced <
arrive at a justly proportional and level judgment on this affair — Sir Winston Churchill
4. distributed evenly <
level stress
5. being a surface perpendicular to all lines of force in a field of force ; equipotential 6. suited to a particular rank or plane of ability or achievement <
top-level thinking
7. of or relating to the spreading out of a cost or charge in even payments over a period of time • levelly adverblevelness noun Synonyms: level, flat, plane, even, smooth mean having a surface without bends, curves, or irregularities. level applies to a horizontal surface that lies on a line parallel with the horizon <
the vast prairies are nearly level
. flat applies to a surface devoid of noticeable curvatures, prominences, or depressions <
the work surface must be flat
. plane applies to any real or imaginary flat surface in which a straight line between any two points on it lies wholly within that surface <
the plane sides of a crystal
. even applies to a surface that is noticeably flat or level or to a line that is observably straight <
trim the hedge so it is even
. smooth applies especially to a polished surface free of irregularities <
a smooth skating rink

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

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