A lever is a handle, sticking out at an angle, that allows you to operate a machine or close a door . When you pull the lever of a voting booth, you both cast your ballot and open the curtain.

All kinds of things — particularly machines — have levers. The word is also used to describe anything that you are able to use to move or influence someone else: think leverage. A headline in the New York Times said the government would use its contracts with private companies as a "wage lever," meaning the government would try to improve wages by giving work and money to companies that paid well and provided generous benefits. Levers get things done.



n a simple machine that gives a mechanical advantage when given a fulcrum

Type of:
machine, simple machine
a device for overcoming resistance at one point by applying force at some other point

n a rigid bar pivoted about a fulcrum

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compound lever
a pair of levers hinged at the fulcrum
crowbar, pry, pry bar, wrecking bar
a heavy iron lever with one end forged into a wedge
gun trigger, trigger
lever that activates the firing mechanism of a gun
hand throttle
a hand-operated lever that controls the throttle valve
a lever (as in a keyboard) that actuates a mechanism when depressed
cant dog, dog hook, peavey, peavy
a stout lever with a sharp spike; used for handling logs
foot lever, foot pedal, pedal, treadle
a lever that is operated with the foot
pinch bar
a lever with a pointed projection that serves as a fulcrum; used to roll heavy wheels
ripping bar
a steel lever with one end formed into a ripping chisel and the other a gooseneck with a claw for pulling nails
rocker arm, valve rocker
a lever pivoted at the center; used especially to push a valve down in an internal-combustion engine
spark lever
(on early automobiles) a lever mounted on the steering column and used to adjust the timing of the ignition
control stick, joystick, stick
a lever used by a pilot to control the ailerons and elevators of an airplane
a lever that is moved in order to tap something else
lever used to turn the rudder on a boat
tire iron, tire tool
hand tool consisting of a lever that is used to force the casing of a pneumatic tire onto a steel wheel
accelerator, accelerator pedal, gas, gas pedal, gun, throttle
a pedal that controls the throttle valve
backspace, backspace key, backspacer
the typewriter key used for back spacing
brake pedal
foot pedal that moves a piston in the master brake cylinder
cant hook
a peavey having a hook instead of a spike; used for handling logs
clutch, clutch pedal
a pedal or lever that engages or disengages a rotating shaft and a driving mechanism
command key, control key
(computer science) the key on a computer keyboard that is used (in combination with some other key) to type control characters
hair trigger
a gun trigger that responds with little pressure
jim crow
a crowbar fitted with a claw for pulling nails
jemmy, jimmy
a short crowbar
a compound lever used to crack nuts open
pair of pliers, pliers, plyers
a gripping hand tool with two hinged arms and (usually) serrated jaws
return, return key
the key on electric typewriters or computer keyboards that causes a carriage return and a line feed
pair of scissors, scissors
an edge tool having two crossed pivoting blades
shift, shift key
the key on the typewriter keyboard that shifts from lower-case letters to upper-case letters
soft pedal
a pedal on a piano that moves the action closer to the strings and so soften the sound
space bar
the bar-shaped typewriter key that introduces spaces when used
loud pedal, sustaining pedal
a pedal on a piano that lifts the dampers from the strings and so allows them to continue vibrating
tab, tab key
the key on a typewriter or a word processor that causes a tabulation
telegraph key
key consisting of a lever that sends a telegraph signal when it is depressed and the circuit is closed
Type of:
a rigid piece of metal or wood; usually used as a fastening or obstruction or weapon

n a flat metal tumbler in a lever lock

lever tumbler
Type of:
a movable obstruction in a lock that must be adjusted to a given position (as by a key) before the bolt can be thrown

v to move or force, especially in an effort to get something open

jimmy, prise, prize, pry
Type of:
open, open up
cause to open or to become open