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.
"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).