Last modified on 24 June 2014, at 10:08

levity

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

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

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

levity (usually uncountable, plural levities)

  1. Lightness of manner or speech, frivolity.
  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 [] .

AntonymsEdit

TranslationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

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