1640s, originally of muscles which raise a part of the body, from Latin elevator "one who raises up," agent noun from past participle stem of elevare (see elevate). As a name for a mechanical lift (originally for grain) attested from 1787. Elevator music for bland, low-volume background music meant to relax listeners is attested by 1963. Elevator as a lift for shoes is from 1940.
updated on September 15, 2020