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[lev-ee] /ˈlɛv i/
noun, plural levies.
an imposing or collecting, as of a tax, by authority or force.
the amount owed or collected.
the conscription of troops.
the troops conscripted.
verb (used with object), levied, levying.
to impose (a tax):
to levy a duty on imports.
to conscript (troops).
to start or wage (war).
verb (used without object), levied, levying.
to seize or attach property by judicial order.
Origin of levy
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English leve(e) < Middle French, noun use of feminine past participle of lever to raise < Latin levāre, akin to levis light; cf. levee2
Related forms
relevy, verb (used with object), relevied, relevying.
self-levied, adjective
unlevied, adjective
Can be confused
levee, levy.
6. draft, enlist, callup. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for levies
  • Such levies discouraged some people from risking self-employment.
  • Meanwhile the government has increased mining levies.
  • levies on wages to finance social security, health care and pensions are painfully high.
  • These levies are not so big that they make it impossible for offenders to get to grips with their finances.
  • They need to cut their negotiated level by more if they are to reduce their levies at all.
  • Tariffs are never likely to be efficient because the political instinct that levies them is always counter-productive.
  • Then the government did one worse--by building levies to impart false security on even the more-wise inhabitants.
  • The political drawback of such levies is that they fall more heavily on the poor than the rich.
  • The burden of these levies would be lessened by the resulting reductions in pollution and congestion.
  • In six months a series of emergency taxes will drop to old rates, such as levies on liquor and other distilled spirits.
British Dictionary definitions for levies


verb (transitive) levies, levying, levied
to impose and collect (a tax, tariff, fine, etc)
to conscript troops for service
to seize or attach (property) in accordance with the judgment of a court
noun (pl) levies
  1. the act of imposing and collecting a tax, tariff, etc
  2. the money so raised
  1. the conscription of troops for service
  2. a person conscripted in this way
Derived Forms
levier, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French levée a raising, from lever, 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
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Word Origin and History for levies



early 13c., "act of raising or collecting," from Anglo-French leve, from Old French levée "act of raising," noun use of fem. past participle of lever "to raise" (see lever). Originally of taxes, later of men for armies (c.1500). Related: Levied; levying.


"an act of levying," early 15c., from Anglo-French leve, Old French levée "a raising, lifting; levying," noun use of fem. past participle of lever "to raise" (see lever).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for levies



Blue denim dungaree pants; blue jeans

[1940s+; fr Levi Strauss2 ,a mid-1800s Westerncompanythatmadeandmakessuchgarments]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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levies in the Bible

(1 Kings 4:6, R.V.; 5:13), forced service. The service of tributaries was often thus exacted by kings. Solomon raised a "great levy" of 30,000 men, about two per cent. of the population, to work for him by courses on Lebanon. Adoram (12:18) presided over this forced labour service (Ger. Frohndienst; Fr. corvee).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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