light, of little weight

Quick Summary

The Latin root word lev means “light in weight.” This root is the word origin of a fair number of English vocabulary words, including elevator and lever. The root lev is easily recalled through the word levitate: to make someone so “light” in weight that she can float above the ground.

Lev Relieves!

The English root word lev means “light in weight.” Today we will “lighten” your vocabulary load by teaching you all about the root lev!

An easy way to remember that lev means “light” is through the word levitation, which is the act of someone’s body floating above the ground; a levitating body has been made very “light,” thus can be effortlessly raised, defying gravity! The body elevates above the ground, being made “light in weight” so that it is able to be raised. In a similar way, an elevator makes the people riding in it seemingly “light” in weight as they are lifted up and up.

Have you ever used a lever to lift something heavy? A lever is used to make a heavy object seemingly “lighter” in weight so that it can be more easily raised. The idea of leverage comes from the principle of a lever; when a person has leverage in a situation, she has the power to influence events or people, making these situations “lighter” for her to change because of her ability to sway others.

Have you ever been relieved about a dangerous situation? When you feel relieved, it’s as if a great weight is being lifted from your shoulders, hence giving you a feeling of becoming “light” with relief. People can often feel such relief when someone alleviates their problem, or makes it “lighter” in seriousness; for instance, people who take the painkiller Alleve “lighten” the pain of headaches.

Information that is relevant to a situation is viewed as “raised” in importance or made “light” because it has something to do with the situation at hand, and thus is readily used. On the other hand, an irrelevant contribution to a project makes things “heavier” or not “light” because it has nothing at all to do with the project, thus making the project’s progress more difficult because it is being weighed down.

Hopefully we have now levied enough relevant examples to make you feel quite “light” in your confidence concerning the root word lev!

  1. levitation: when a body is ‘light’ enough to float above the ground
  2. elevate: to raise something, thereby making it ‘light’ enough to do so
  3. elevator: that which makes a body ‘light’ enough to be raised
  4. lever: tool which makes a heavy object ‘light’ to lift
  5. leverage: having the power to raise what you’d like, thus making situations ‘light’ to control
  6. relieve: to make ‘light’ again
  7. alleviate: to make a troubling situation move towards being ‘light’
  8. Alleve: painkiller which makes headache pain ‘lighter’
  9. relevant: of a point which can be raised because it is ‘light’
  10. irrelevant: of a point which should not be raised because it is not ‘light’
  11. levy: to raise something because it has been made ‘light’


  • levity

    Levity is an amusing way of speaking or behaving during a serious situation; it can lighten the moment but can also be considered inappropriate.

  • alleviate

    If you alleviate pain or suffering, you make it less intense or severe.

  • irrelevant

    Irrelevant information is unrelated or unconnected to the situation at hand.

  • legerdemain

    Legerdemain is the skillful use of one's hands or the employment of another form of cleverness for the purpose of deceiving someone.

  • alleviation

    the feeling that comes when something burdensome is removed or reduced

  • elevate

    give a promotion to or assign to a higher position

  • elevated

    raised above the ground

  • elevation

    the event of something being raised upward

  • elevator

    lifting device consisting of a platform or cage that is raised and lowered mechanically in a vertical shaft in order to move people from one floor to another in a building

  • irrelevance

    the lack of a relation of something to the matter at hand

  • lever

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

  • leverage

    supplement with leverage

  • levitate

    cause to rise in the air and float, as if in defiance of gravity

  • levitation

    the phenomenon of a person or thing rising into the air by apparently supernatural means

  • levy(n.)

    a tax

  • levy(v.)

    impose and collect

  • relevant

    having a bearing on or connection with the subject at issue

  • relieve

    provide physical relief, as from pain

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.