If you have leverage, you hold the advantage in a situation or the stronger position in a contest, physical or otherwise.

The lever is a tool for getting more work done with less physical force. With the right leverage, you might be able to lift a heavy box. This refers to non-physical situations too: the power to move or influence others is also leverage. Since your boss has the power to fire you, that's a lot of leverage to get you to do what he wants. If your friend owes you a favor, you have leverage to get a favor of your own.

Definitions of leverage

n the mechanical advantage gained by being in a position to use a lever

Type of:
mechanical phenomenon
a physical phenomenon associated with the equilibrium or motion of objects

n strategic advantage; power to act effectively

“relatively small groups can sometimes exert immense political leverage
bargaining chip
leverage in the form of an inducement or a concession useful in successful negotiations
Type of:
advantage, vantage
the quality of having a superior or more favorable position

n investing with borrowed money as a way to amplify potential gains (at the risk of greater losses)

Type of:
investing, investment
the act of investing; laying out money or capital in an enterprise with the expectation of profit

v supplement with leverage

leverage the money that is already available”
Type of:
add as a supplement to what seems insufficient

v provide with leverage

“We need to leverage this company”
Type of:
furnish, provide, render, supply
give something useful or necessary to

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