- having no part higher than another; having a flat or even surface.
- being in a plane parallel to the plane of the horizon; horizontal.
- equal, as one thing with another or two or more things with one another.
- even, equable, or uniform.
- filled to a height even with the rim of a container: a level teaspoon of salt.
- mentally well-balanced; sensible; rational: to keep a level head in a crisis.
- a device used for determining or adjusting something to a horizontal surface.
- Also called surveyor’s level.an instrument for observing levels, having a sighting device, usually telescopic, and capable of being made precisely horizontal.
- an observation made with this instrument.
- spirit level.
- an imaginary line or surface everywhere at right angles to the plumb line.
- the horizontal line or plane in which anything is situated, with regard to its elevation.
- a horizontal position or condition.
- an extent of land approximately horizontal and unbroken by irregularities.
- a level or flat surface.
- a position with respect to a given or specified height: The water rose to a level of 30 feet.
- a position or plane in a graded scale of values; status; rank: His acting was on the level of an amateur. They associated only with those on their own economic level.
- an extent, measure, or degree of intensity, achievement, etc.: a high level of sound; an average level of writing skill.
- Linguistics. a major subdivision of linguistic structure, as phonology, morphology, or syntax, often viewed as hierarchically ordered.Compare component(def 6a), stratum(def 8).
- Mining. the interconnected horizontal mine workings at a particular elevation or depth: There had been a cave-in on the 1500-foot level.
verb (used with object), lev·eled, lev·el·ing or (especially British) lev·elled, lev·el·ling.
- to make (a surface) level, even, or flat: to level ground before building.
- to raise or lower to a particular level or position; to make horizontal.
- to bring (something) to the level of the ground: They leveled the trees to make way for the new highway.
- Informal. to knock down (a person): He leveled his opponent with one blow.
- to make equal, as in status or condition.
- to make even or uniform, as coloring.
- Historical Linguistics. (of the alternative forms of a paradigm) to reduce in number or regularize: Old English “him” (dative) and “hine” (accusative) have been leveled to Modern English “him.”
- to aim or point (a weapon, criticism, etc.) at a mark or objective: He leveled his criticism at the college as a whole.
- Surveying. to find the relative elevation of different points in (land), as with a level.
verb (used without object), lev·eled, lev·el·ing or (especially British) lev·elled, lev·el·ling.
- to bring things or persons to a common level.
- to aim a weapon, criticism, etc., at a mark or objective.
- to take a level.
- to use a leveling instrument.
- to speak truthfully and openly (often followed by with): You’re not leveling with me about your trip to Chicago.
- Obsolete. to direct the mind, purpose, etc., at something.
- Obsolete. in a level, direct, or even way or line.
- level off,
- Aeronautics.to maintain a constant altitude after a climb or descent.
- to become stable; reach a constant or limit.
- to make even or smooth.
- find one’s (own) level, to attain the place or position merited by one’s abilities or achievements: He finally found his level as one of the directors of the firm.
- one’s level best, one’s very best; one’s utmost: We tried our level best to get here on time.
- on the level, Informal. honest; sincere; reliable: Is this information on the level?
- on a horizontal plane
- having a surface of completely equal height
- being of the same height as something else
- (of quantities to be measured, as in recipes) even with the top of the cup, spoon, etc
- equal to or even with (something or someone else)
- not having or showing inconsistency or irregularities
- Also: level-headed even-tempered; steady
verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
- (tr sometimes foll by off) to make (a surface) horizontal, level, or even
- to make (two or more people or things) equal, as in position or status
- (tr) to raze to the ground
- (tr) to knock (a person) down by or as if by a blow
- (tr) to direct (a gaze, criticism, etc) emphatically at someone
- (intr often foll by with) informal to be straightforward and frank
- (intr; foll by off or out) to manoeuvre an aircraft into a horizontal flight path after a dive, climb, or glide
- (often foll by at) to aim (a weapon) horizontally
- surveying to determine the elevation of a section of (land), sighting through a levelling instrument to a staff at successive pairs or points
- a horizontal datum line or plane
- a device, such as a spirit level, for determining whether a surface is horizontal
- a surveying instrument consisting basically of a telescope with a spirit level attached, used for measuring relative heights of landSee Abney level, dumpy level
- a reading of the difference in elevation of two points taken with such an instrument
- position or status in a scale of values
- amount or degree of progress; stage
- a specified vertical position; altitude
- a horizontal line or plane with respect to which measurement of elevation is basedsea level
- a flat even surface or area of land
- a horizontal passage or drift in a mine
- any of the successive layers of material that have been deposited with the passage of time to build up and raise the height of the land surface
- physics the ratio of the magnitude of a physical quantity to an arbitrary magnitudesound-pressure level
- do one’s level best to make every possible effort; try one’s utmost
- find one’s level to find one’s most suitable place socially, professionally, etc
- on a level on the same horizontal plane as another
- on the level informal sincere, honest, or genuine
early 15c., from level (n.). To do one’s level best is from 1851.
mid-15c., “to make level,” from level (n.). From c.1600 as “to bring to a level;” 1958 as “to cease increasing.” Meaning “to aim a gun” is late 15c. Slang sense of “tell the truth” is from 1920. To level up “to rise” is attested by 1863.
A word here as to the misconception labored under by our English neighbor; he evidently does not understand the American manner of doing things. We never level down in this country; we are always at work on the up grade. “Level up! Level up!” is the motto of the American people. [James E. Garretson, “Professional Education,” in “The Dental Cosmos,” Philadelphia, 1865]
To level off “cease rising or falling” is from 1920, originally in aviation.
mid-14c., “tool to indicate a horizontal line,” from Old French livel “a level” (13c.), ultimately from Latin libella “a balance, level,” diminutive of libra “balance, scale, unit of weight,” from PIE *lithra. Cognate Spanish nivel, Modern French niveau are from the same source but altered by dissimilation. Meaning “horizontality” is from c.1400. Meaning “position as marked by a horizontal line” is from 1530s. Phrase on the level “fair, honest” is from 1872; earlier it meant “moderate, without great ambition” (1790).
- Relative position or rank on a graded scale, such as mental or emotional development.
- A relative degree, as of intensity or concentration.
In addition to the idioms beginning with level
- level best
- level off
- level with someone
- do one’s (level) best
- on the level