"an act of levying, a raising or collecting of anything" (a tax, debt, fine, etc.), early 15c., from Anglo-French leve (mid-13c.), Old French levée "a raising, lifting; levying," noun use of fem. past participle of lever "to raise" (from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight").
1829, colloquial shortening of elevenpence (see eleven). In U.S. before c. 1860, a Spanish real or an equivalent amount of some other money (about 12 and a half cents).
early 13c., "to raise or collect" (by authority or compulsion), from Anglo-French leve, from Old French levée "act of raising," noun use of fem. past participle of lever "to raise" (from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight;" compare levee). Originally of taxes, later of men for armies (c. 1500). Related: Levied; levying.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "not heavy, having little weight."
It forms all or part of: alleviate; alleviation; alto-rilievo; carnival; elevate; elevation; elevator; leaven; legerdemain; leprechaun; Levant; levator; levee; lever; levity; levy (v.) "to raise or collect;" light (adj.1) "not heavy, having little weight;" lighter (n.1) "type of barge used in unloading;" lung; relevance; relevant; releve; relief; relieve.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit laghuh "quick, small;" Greek elakhys "small," elaphros "light;" Latin levare "to raise," levis "light in weight, not heavy;" Old Church Slavonic liguku, Russian lëgkij, Polish lekki, Lithuanian lengvas "light in weight;" Old Irish lu "small," laigiu "smaller, worse;" Gothic leihts, Old English leoht "not heavy, light in weight."
"to extort entertainment from, to levy extractions upon," 1630s, apparently a phonetic spelling of Irish coisir "feast, entertainment." Related: Coshering (1570s).
"tax, levy," 1530s, from the verb cess "impose a tax upon" (late 15c.), altered spelling of sess, short for assess (q.v.).
"act of raising or lifting," 1530s, from raise (v.). The specific meaning "an increase in amount or value" is from 1728. Meaning "increase in salary or wages" is from 1898, chiefly American English (British preferring rise). Earliest attested use (c. 1500) is in obsolete sense of "a levy."
"military reinforcement, one of a newly raised body of soldiers or sailors to supply a military deficiency," 1640s, from recruit (v.), replacing earlier recrew, recrue; or from obsolete French recrute, alteration of recreue "a supply," recrue "a levy of troops" (late 16c.). This is a Picardy or Hainault dialect variant of recrue "a levy, a recruit," literally "a new growth," from Old French recreu (12c.), past participle of recreistre "grow or increase again," from re- "again" (see re-) + creistre "to grow," from Latin crescere "to grow" (from PIE root *ker- (2) "to grow").
"The French word first appeared in literary use in gazettes published in Holland, and was disapproved of by French writers in the latter part of the 17th c." [OED]. The French word also is the source of Dutch recruut, German Recrut, Swedish rekryt. The general sense of "one who has newly filled a vacancy in any body or class of persons" also is from 1640s.