leveller

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

level +‎ -er

Adjective[edit]

leveller

  1. comparative form of level: more level

Noun[edit]

leveller (plural levellers)

  1. A person or thing that levels.
    I adjusted the leveller built into each leg of the table, but it still wobbled.
    A soil leveller is used to prepare the field before sowing.
  2. (especially) Something that transcends people’s differences (such as social class, wealth, etc.); something that tends to eliminate advantages and disadvantages.
    • 1782, Elizabeth Griffith, Essays, Addressed to Young Married Women, London: T. Cadell & J. Robson, “Domestic Amusement,” p. 68,[1]
      Conversation is not to be met with in large and mixed companies; and a card-table, considered as an universal leveller, may have its use, by placing the weak and timid on a par with the most lively and overbearing.
    • 1833, James Fenimore Cooper, The Headsman: The Abbaye des Vignerons, Chapter 16,[2]
      All the captives, the innocent as well as the guilty, gladly subscribed to the terms; for they found themselves in a temporary duresse which did not admit of any fair argument of the merits of the case, and there is no leveller so effectual as a common misfortune.
    • 1866, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters, Chapter 30,[3]
      Everything about the old man was clean, if coarse; and, with Death, the leveller, so close at hand, it was the labourer who made the first advances, and put out his horny hand to the Squire.
    • 2001, Elizabeth Olson, “Swiss Voters Reject Effort to Abolish Their Army,” The New York Times, 3 December, 2001,[4]
      The army is viewed not only as a social leveler but also as a means of unifying a country with three cultures and four languages.
  3. A person holding a political opinion in favor of eliminating disparities between the haves and the have nots.
    • 1771, Oliver Goldsmith, The History of England, From the Earliest Times to the Death of George II, London: T. Davies et al., Volume III, Chapter 32 “Charles I,” pp. 299-300,[5]
      Among the independents, who, in general, were for having no ecclesiastical subordination, a set of men grew up called Levellers, who disallowed all subordination whatsoever, and declared that they would have no other chaplain, king, or general, but Christ. They declared that all men were equal; that all degrees and ranks should be levelled, and an exact partition of property established in the nation.
    • 1844, William Makepeace Thackeray, The Luck of Barry Lyndon, Chapter 17,[6]
      [] there was no sympathy and connection between the upper and the lower people of the Irish. To one who had been bred so much abroad as myself, this difference between Catholic and Protestant was doubly striking; and though as firm as a rock in my own faith, yet I could not help remembering my grandfather held a different one, and wondering that there should be such a political difference between the two. I passed among my neighbours for a dangerous leveller, for entertaining and expressing such opinions []
  4. (sports) An equaliser.
    • 2011 January 18, David Dulin, “Cardiff 0 - 2 Stoke”, in BBC[7]:
      Cardiff pressed for a leveller to force the tie into penalties, but Stoke comfortably held out and Walters added his second finishing from a tight angle after his first shot was beaten back to him by Heaton.