Meaning of LEVEL in English

I. ˈlevəl noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English livel, level, from Middle French livel, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin libellum, from Latin libella, diminutive of libra pound, weight, balance


a. : a device for finding a horizontal line or plane by means of a bubble in a nonfreezing liquid (as alcohol or ether) that shows adjustment to the horizontal by movement of the bubble to the center of a glass tube that is slightly bowed up from the horizontal longitudinally

b. : a surveyor's telescope on which is mounted a sensitive bubble tube and which indicates a horizontal line of sight when the bubble is centered by means of leveling screws


[probably from level (II) ]

: a measurement of the difference of altitude of two points by means of a level

take a level

2. : horizontal state or condition : uniform altitude

brings the tilted surface to a level

especially : equilibrium of a fluid marked by a horizontal surface of even altitude

water tries to find its own level

3. : an approximately horizontal line or surface: as

a. : such a line or surface taken as an index of altitude

wall charts arranged at eye level — J.K.Blake

we were then 400 feet beneath the level of the fields overhead — Andrew Finn

b. : an area of country unbroken by noticeable elevations or depressions

a side-hill village, spilling from the level of a plateau down a sharp incline into the valley — American Guide Series: Vermont

4. : a position in any scale of achievement, importance, significance, or value : plane , rank : as

a. : a degree of artistic, intellectual, or spiritual meaning

the level of insight is generally very high — S.E.Hyman

the level of excellence achieved in the novel … provides an imposing yardstick against which the film repeatedly will be measured — Arthur Knight

different levels or orders of truth — J.W.Krutch

b. : a measure of personal worth or dignity

I don't feel that it's necessary to quarrel with people. One puts himself on their level in that way — J.C.Powys

c. : a rank in an organization or hierarchy

stipulated that the meeting should be on the level of foreign ministers — New York Times

had a genius for … using her associates at all levels in … building her own career — Harrison Smith

only on the provincial and state level had a certain regrouping taken place — Americana Annual

handled major problems of the union on a national level — Current Biography

d. : social standing or precedence

the social levels … were laid upon one's position in the university rather than money — Virginia D. Dawson & Betty D. Wilson


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

6. : an open stretch of water in a canal or river (as between two canal locks)


[ level (II) ]

obsolete : the act of aiming a gun or other missile-firing weapon


a. : a horizontal passage in a mine intended for regular working and transportation — compare adit

b. : the horizontal plane containing a main level and other workings (as crosscuts and drifts)

the 700-foot level

— compare drift 6

9. : a characteristic and fairly uniform concentration of a constituent of the blood or other body fluid

a normal blood-sugar level

10. : the magnitude of a quantity considered in relation to an arbitrary reference value (as volts or decibels)

a scale of auditory magnitudes has been derived from loudness tests and can be used whenever the loudness level of a sound is known — J.C.Steinberg & W.A.Munson

video signal level is usually referred to in terms of volts, while audio level is measured in volume units — H.E.Ennes

11. : energy level


a. : a degree of ability or aptitude or measure of performance

the student who has not reached an advanced level — A.S.Hornby

they slow the game down to a tempo corresponding to their level of fitness — W.J.Finn

b. : a grade of mental or emotional development or maturity

evidence as to levels of personality development (e.g., anal, oral) — G.P.Murdock

13. : a plane of economic activity, prices, or production

production, employment, and national income were at record peacetime levels — Collier's Year Book

continued high level of private capital investments — Fritz Sternberg

14. : a natural or fit position in relation to others — used in the phrase one's level

the peso … was allowed to seek its own level — Collier's Year Book

- on the level

II. verb

( leveled or levelled ; leveled or levelled ; leveling or levelling -v(ə)liŋ ; levels )

Etymology: Middle English levellen, from livel, level, n. — more at level I

transitive verb

1. : to make (a line or surface) horizontal : even off : make flat or level

they are the natural highways of all nations … leveling the ground and removing obstacles from the path of the traveler — H.D.Thoreau


a. : to bring to a horizontal aiming position

a second sentry … leveled his halberd at the parson's breast — Max Peacock

hesitates to level his barrage directly — C.H.Stoddard

b. : aim , direct

bitter taunts that his wife had leveled at him — J.C.Powys

two major criticisms have been leveled at the program — New York Times

jokes, ridicule, and ill-natured gossip were leveled against the daring females who succeeded in getting employment — Langston Day

3. : to bring to a common level or plane (as of rank or condition) : equalize

love levels all ranks — W.S.Gilbert

social differences in the plantation country of the South were leveled down to some extent after the Civil War — Hans Kurath


a. : to lay level with the ground : flatten , raze

a mysterious fire leveled the tower — American Guide Series: Pennsylvania

the cyclone of 1889 leveled the entire city — American Guide Series: Minnesota

b. : to knock down : lay prone

brought his fist up quickly under my chin and leveled me backwards on the bed — Shea Murphy

5. : to make even, equal, or uniform (as in color)

6. : to alter by linguistic or phonetic leveling (sense 2)

7. : to find the heights of different points in (a piece of land) especially with a surveyor's level : to make a contour of by means of a level — sometimes used with over or up

intransitive verb

1. : to attain or come to a level — often used with down, out, or up

the deck of the Janet leveled a little as she slowed down — Arnold Gifford

the trail turned south there and leveled out — W.V.T.Clark


a. : to aim a gun or other weapon horizontally

they level : a volley, a smoke and the clearing of smoke — Robert Browning

b. obsolete : to direct attention or effort at an object

3. : to bring persons or things to a level

your levelers wish to level down as far as themselves; but they cannot bear leveling up to themselves — Samuel Johnson

4. : to impart color evenly or with uniform shade

dyes that level readily

5. : to be made identical by linguistic or phonetic leveling (sense 2)

6. : to form a smooth film free of brush marks — used of paints

7. : to deal frankly and without artifice : speak candidly and openly

I'll level with you. From you I hold back nothing — Richard Brooks

III. adjective

Etymology: level (I)


a. : having no part higher than another : conforming to the curvature of the earth's ocean surfaces

these low, level landscapes … are characteristic of the continent as a whole — Atlas of Australian Resources

this land is so level that before the erection of … fences snow-sailing was a popular and very exciting sport — American Guide Series: Minnesota

b. : coinciding or parallel with the plane of the horizon : horizontal

the bottom of the excavation must be level — J.R.Dalzell


a. : even or unvarying in height

secure the advantage of a level temperature — Oil

b. : equal in advantage, progression, or standing

where every democratic dream had been fulfilled, and where all men had started level — W.B.Yeats

another rider drew level with the squire — T.B.Costain

sitting down as a level member of the dairyman's household seemed at the outset an undignified proceeding — Thomas Hardy

c. : proceeding monotonously or uneventfully

their level life is but a smoldering fire, unquenched by want, unfanned by strong desire — Oliver Goldsmith


(1) : penetrating , steady , unflinching , unwavering

she gave him a level look — Louis Auchincloss

(2) : calm , quiet , unexcited

finished his bottle and began to speak in level tones and with a quiet final authority — Honor Tracy

it was not in level and sober mood that the heir was expected but in a stew of high excitement — Francis Hackett

e. : contested on even terms : exhibiting no handicap

the race was clearly level

3. : maintaining equilibrium : balanced , just , steady

a longtime producer, who, from seeing so many actors come and go, keeps a level head about them — New York Times

arrive at a justly proportioned and level judgment on this affair — Sir Winston Churchill

4. : distributed evenly : of a uniform shade

a badly prepared fabric cannot be expected to give level dyeing — R.S.Horsfall & L.G.Lawrie


a. : uttered with stress on two or more syllables that is heavy and equal or apprehended as equal

pronounced impossible with level stress

level stress is characteristic of the French language

b. : uttered at a pitch that remains the same for an entire syllable or for more than one

a kind of level whine — Robert Browning

6. : being a surface perpendicular to all lines of force in a field of force so that no energy is transformed in moving a mass along it : equipotential


a. : suited to a particular plane of ability or achievement — usually used in combination

college- level institutes and higher-than-college- level academies — Joseph Alsop

b. : conducted at or proper to a particular organizational rank or status — usually used in combination

the nature and extent of top- level thinking with respect to planned action — J.F.H.Turton

8. : evenly matched in appearance and qualities

“a nice level lot,” said the colonel … as they watched the first four companies — Rudyard Kipling

by only keeping white hounds and by most careful and judicious mating he obtained a level pack in 20 years — B.V.Fitzgerald

9. : bona fide : untainted by devious motive or intent to deceive

the game is level

10. : of or relating to the spreading out of a cost or charge in even payments over a period of time rather than making a single lump sum payment

level premium plans are offered widely by insurance companies


flat , plain , plane , even , smooth , flush : level in its literal meanings is almost entirely limited to the notion of conforming to or paralleling either the curvature line of the surface of the earth or the nearly identical line horizon to horizon; its stress is on the notion of a plane through either of these lines and its connotation not so precise that no minor irregularity of surface is possible. Its suggestion is usually a favorable one

a level and convenient lot

flat stresses the notion of an unbroken horizontal surface; it indicates lack of a break in surface contour and may be deprecatory

flat uninteresting prairies

No longer common, the adjective plain in this sense is likely to apply to terrain and have about the same implications as the noun plain. plane, a close cognate of plain , similarly has the connotations of the noun plain. In mathematical use it contrasts with solid or spherical. even stresses lack of noteworthy breaks or irregularities in surfaces although it does not indicate, as smooth does, complete lack of any roughnesses, ruptures, or irregularities. smooth stresses a completely regular surface lacking irregularities perceptible to touch or sight, roughnesses, dents, ridges, breaks, or inept jointures. smooth has no suggestion of a given plane. flush may stress lack of designed breaks in an even surface, like panels, ridges, molding strips, or cornices; it may suggest the setting or embedding of one thing into another leaving an uninterrupted plane

bolts set flush

- level best

IV. adverb

obsolete : in a level line or manner

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.