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From Latin ēlevātus, past participle of ēlevāre (to raise, lift up), from ē- (out) + levāre (to make light, to lift), from levis (light); see levity and lever.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɛləveɪt/
  • (file)


elevate (third-person singular simple present elevates, present participle elevating, simple past and past participle elevated)

  1. (transitive) To raise (something) to a higher position.
    Synonyms: lift, raise
    Antonyms: drop, lower
    The doctor told me elevating my legs would help reduce the swelling.
  2. (transitive) To promote (someone) to a higher rank.
    Synonyms: exalt, promote
    Antonym: demote
    • 1682, Aphra Behn, “The Roundheads or, The Good Old Cause”, in et al.[3], London: D. Brown, act I, scene 1, page 6:
      Hard Fate of Greatness, We so highly Elevated
      Are more expos’d to Censure than the little ones,
    • 1791 (date written), Mary Wollstonecraft, chapter 1, in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, 1st American edition, Boston, Mass.: [] Peter Edes for Thomas and Andrews, [], published 1792, →OCLC:
      Nothing can set the regal character in a more contemptible point of view, than the various crimes that have elevated men to the supreme dignity.
    • 1961, Joseph Heller, chapter 29, in Catch-22[4], New York: Dell, page 334:
      [] that’s the way things go when you elevate mediocre people to positions of authority.
    • 2014, A. D. Wright, The Early Modern Papacy:
      Much has also been made recently of the distorting effects exerted on the administration of Urban VIII by the interests of the Barberini nephews, especially of the two elevated to cardinal status.
    • 2014, Guy W. Lecky-Thompson, Inside SharePoint 2007 Administration, page 55:
      At that point, you have to elevate the account's rights, activate the feature, and then demote the account again.
  3. (transitive) To confer honor or nobility on (someone).
    Synonyms: ennoble, exalt, honor
    The traditional worldview elevates man as the pinnacle of creation.
    • 1591, Edmund Spenser, “Virgils Gnat” in Complaints, London: William Ponsonbie,[5]
      That none, whom fortune freely doth aduaunce,
      Himselfe therefore to heauen should eleuate:
      For loftie type of honour through the glaunce
      Of enuies dart, is downe in dust prostrate;
  4. (transitive) To make (something or someone) more worthy or of greater value.
    A talented chef can elevate everyday ingredients into gourmet delights.
    • 1682, John Dryden, “Epistle to the Whigs”, in The Medal[6], Edinburgh:
      [] if you encourage a young Beginner, who knows but he may elevate his stile a little,
    • 1768, William Gilpin, chapter 1, in An Essay upon Prints[7], London: J. Robson, page 33:
      He is the true artist, who copies nature; but, where he finds her mean, elevates her from his own ideas of beauty.
    • 1849 May – 1850 November, Charles Dickens, The Personal History of David Copperfield, London: Bradbury & Evans, [], published 1850, →OCLC:
      You can’t think how it elevates him in my opinion, to know for certain that he’s really conscientious!
  5. (transitive) To direct (the mind, thoughts, etc.) toward more worthy things.
    • 1665, Robert Boyle, Occasional Reflections upon Several Subjects[8], London: Henry Herringman, Section 4, Chapter 4, pp. 73-74:
      [] the devout Christian improves the Blessings he receives of this inferiour World, to elevate his mind above it:
    • 1999, Ahdaf Soueif, chapter 18, in The Map of Love, New York: Anchor Books, published 2000:
      On the whole I would regard serious art as a means to elevate the emotions and educate the spirit []
  6. (transitive) To increase the intensity or degree of (something).
    Synonyms: increase, raise
    Antonyms: decrease, diminish, lower, reduce
    Some drugs have the side effect of elevating your blood sugar level.
    1. (dated) To increase the loudness of (a sound, especially one's voice).
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To lift the spirits of (someone)
    Synonyms: cheer up, elate
    Antonyms: depress, sadden
  8. (dated, colloquial, humorous) To intoxicate in a slight degree; to make (someone) tipsy.
  9. (obsolete, Latinism) To attempt to make (something) seem less important, remarkable, etc.
    Synonyms: lessen, detract, disparage
    • 1660, Jeremy Taylor, Ductor Dubitantium, London: Richard Royston, Volume 1, Chapter 4, Rule 2, p. 126,[11]
      [] the Arabian Physicians [] endevour to elevate and lessen the thing [i.e. belief in the virgin birth of Jesus], by saying, It is not wholly beyond the force of nature, that a Virgin should conceive []

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



elevate (comparative more elevate, superlative most elevate)

  1. (obsolete) Elevated; raised aloft.
    • 1548, Edward Hall, The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancastre and Yorke, London: Richard Grafton, Henry VII, year 6,[12]
      The sayde crosse was .iii. tymes deuoutly eleuate, and at euery exaltacion, ye Moores beyng within the cytie, roared, howled and cryed,
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book II”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 567-578:
      Others apart sat on a Hill retir’d,
      In thoughts more elevate,

Further reading[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]



  1. inflection of elevare:
    1. second-person plural present indicative
    2. second-person plural imperative

Etymology 2[edit]


elevate f pl

  1. feminine plural of elevato




  1. second-person plural present active imperative of ēlevō




  1. second-person singular voseo imperative of elevar combined with te