A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[lev-ee] /ˈlɛv i/
an embankment designed to prevent the flooding of a river.
Geology, natural levee.
Agriculture. one of the small continuous ridges surrounding fields that are to be irrigated.
History/Historical. a landing place for ships; quay.
verb (used with object), leveed, leveeing.
to furnish with a levee:
to levee a treacherous stream.
1710-20, Americanism; < French levée < Medieval Latin levāta embankment, noun use of feminine past participle of Latin levāre to raise, orig. lighten, akin to levis light, not heavy
Can be confused
levee, levy.


[lev-ee, le-vee] /ˈlɛv i, lɛˈvi/
(in Great Britain) a public court assembly, held in the early afternoon, at which men only are received.
a reception, usually in someone's honor:
a presidential levee at the White House.
History/Historical. a reception of visitors held on rising from bed, as formerly by a royal or other personage.
1665-75; < French levé, variant spelling of lever rising (noun use of infinitive) < Latin levāre to raise; see levee1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for levees
  • Authorities were carefully watching levees set up around some communities to hold back floodwaters.
  • Fertilizer runoff can be recaptured by diverting a portion of river water into settling ponds or marshland behind levees.
  • No one is sure how long it will take to pump out floodwaters once the levees are repaired.
  • When a city floods, humans stack sandbags and raise levees.
  • People who live behind levees are especially at risk.
  • Five years after the hurricane, we're fixing the levees.
  • Any levees disturbed during clearing shall be graded and returned to its existing contours.
  • levees are designed to reduce the risk of flooding for us and our communities.
  • Yet no design is without flaw and levees do not eliminate the risk of flooding which can be catastrophic.
  • Some levees no longer protect against a major flood.
British Dictionary definitions for levees


noun (US)
an embankment alongside a river, produced naturally by sedimentation or constructed by man to prevent flooding
an embankment that surrounds a field that is to be irrigated
a landing place on a river; quay
Word Origin
C18: from French, from Medieval Latin levāta, from Latin levāre to raise


/ˈlɛvɪ; ˈlɛveɪ/
a formal reception held by a sovereign just after rising from bed
(in Britain) a public court reception for men, held in the early afternoon
Word Origin
C17: from French, variant of lever a rising, from Latin levāre to raise
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for levees



1719, "natural or artificial embankment to prevent overflow of a river," from New Orleans French levée "raising, lifting; embankment," from French, originally fem. past participle of lever "to raise," from Latin levare "to raise" (see lever).

"morning assembly held by a prince or king (upon rising from bed)," 1670s, from French lever "a raising," noun use of verb meaning "to raise" (see levee (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
levees in Science
  1. A long ridge of sand, silt, and clay built up by a river along its banks, especially during floods.

  2. An artificial embankment along a rivercourse or an arm of the sea, built to protect adjoining land from inundation.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for levees


any low ridge or earthen embankment built along the edges of a stream or river channel to prevent flooding of the adjacent land. Artificial levees are typically needed to control the flow of rivers meandering through broad, flat floodplains. Levees are usually embankments of dirt built wide enough so that they will not collapse or be eroded when saturated with moisture from rivers running at unusually high levels. Grass or some other matlike vegetation is planted on the top of the levee's bank so that its erosion will be kept to a minimum.

Learn more about levee with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for levee

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for levees

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for levees