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.

Definitions of lever

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

show 34 types...
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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 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

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