Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



Coined in 1564, from Latin levitās(lightness, frivolity), from levis(lightness (in weight)).[1] Cognate to lever.



levity ‎(usually uncountable, plural levities)

  1. Lightness of manner or speech, frivolity; lack of appropriate seriousness; inclination to make a joke of serious matters.
  2. (obsolete) Lack of steadiness.
  3. The state or quality of being light, buoyancy.
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald
      Most of the confidences were unsought - frequently I had feigned sleep, preoccupation or a hostile levity []
    • Robert Montgomery Bird:
      [] it would really seem as if there was something nomadic in our natures, a principle of levity and restlessness []
    • 1869, Mary Somerville, On Molecular and Microscopic Science 1.1.12:
      Hydrogen [] rises in the air on account of its levity.
  4. (countable) A lighthearted or frivolous act.
    • 1665, Daniel Defoe, History of the Plague in London[1]:
      For though it be something wonderful to tell that any should have hearts so hardened, in the midst of such a calamity, as to rob and steal, yet certain it is that all sorts of villainies, and even levities and debaucheries, were then practiced in the town as openly as ever: I will not say quite as frequently, because the number of people were many ways lessened.
    • 1872, J. Fenimore Cooper, The Bravo[2]:
      [] or do the people joy less than common in their levities?"
    • 1882, H.D. Traill, Sterne[3]:
      His incorrigible levities had probably lost him the countenance of most of his more serious acquaintances [] .


Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ levity” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).