Advertisement
179 entries found
Search filter: All Results 
level (n.)

mid-14c., "tool to indicate a horizontal line," from Old French livel "a level" (13c.), ultimately from Latin libella "a balance, level" (also a monetary unit), diminutive of libra "balance, scale, unit of weight" (see Libra). Spanish nivel, Modern French niveau are from the same source but altered by dissimilation.

Meaning "position as marked by a horizontal line" (as in sea-level) is from 1530s; meaning "flat surface" is from 1630s; meaning "level tract of land" is from 1620s. Figurative meaning in reference to social, moral, or intellectual condition is from c. 1600. Figurative phrase on the level "fair, honest" is from 1872; earlier it meant "moderate, without great ambition" (1790).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
fuel (n.)
c. 1200, feuel, feul "fuel, material for burning," also figurative, from Old French foaille "fuel for heating," from Medieval Latin legal term focalia "right to demand material for making fire, right of cutting fuel," from classical Latin focalia "brushwood for fuel," from neuter plural of Latin focalis "pertaining to a hearth," from focus "hearth, fireplace" (see focus (n.)). Figurative use from 1570s. Of food, as fuel for the body, 1876. As "combustible liquid for an internal combustion engine" from 1886. A French derivative is fouailler "woodyard." Fuel-oil is from 1882.
Related entries & more 
fuel (v.)
1590s, "feed or furnish with fuel," literal and figurative, from fuel (n.). Intransitive sense "to get fuel" (originally firewood) is from 1880. Related: Fueled; fueling.
Related entries & more 
level (adj.)
early 15c., "having an even surface," from level (n.). Meanings "lying on or constituting a horizontal surface" and "lying in the same horizontal plane" (as something else) are from 1550s. To do one's level best is U.S. slang from 1851, from level in the sense "well-aimed, direct, straight." Level playing field as a figure of equality of opportunity is from 1981. Related: Levelly.
Related entries & more 
level (v.)

mid-15c., "to make level" (transitive), from level (n.). From c. 1600 as "to bring to a level." Intransitive sense "cease increasing" is from 1958. Meaning "to aim (a gun)" is late 15c. Slang sense of "tell the truth, be honest" 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]

Modern use is mostly from computer gaming (2001). To level off "cease rising or falling" is from 1920, originally in aviation. Related: Leveled; leveling.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
split-level (adj.)
1951 as a type of building plan, from split (adj.) + level (n.). As a noun from 1954, short for split-level house, etc.
Related entries & more 
level-headed (adj.)
also levelheaded, "sensible, shrewd," 1869, from level (adj.) + -headed. The notion is of "mentally balanced." Related: Levelheadedness.
Related entries & more 
refuel (v.)

also re-fuel, "supply again with fuel, refill with fuel," 1811, from re- "again" + fuel (v.). Originally in a spiritual sense; later of gas tanks, motor vehicles, etc. Related: Refueled; refuelling.

Related entries & more 
biofuel (n.)
also bio-fuel, by 1984, from bio- + fuel (n.).
Related entries & more 
plain (n.)

"level country, expanse of level or nearly level ground," c. 1300 (in reference to Salisbury Plain), from Old French plain "open countryside," from Latin planum "level ground, plain," noun use of neuter of planus (adj.) "flat, even, level" (from PIE root *pele- (2) "flat; to spread"). Latin planum was used for "level ground" but much more common was campus.

Related entries & more