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EtymologyEdit

Borrowed from Late Latin Levītēs, Lēvīta, itself borrowed from Ancient Greek Λευῑ́της (Leuī́tēs). Synchronically as if Levi +‎ -ite.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

Levite (plural Levites)

  1. A member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi.
  2. (obsolete, humorous) A clergyman.
  3. (now historical) A type of loose women's dress.
    • 1779, Horace Walpole, letter, 15 November:
      A habit-maker [] is gone stark in love with Lady Ossory, on fitting her with the new dress, I think they call it a Levite, and says he never saw so glorious a figure [] .
    • 2003, Aileen Ribeiro, in Robyn Asleson, Notorious Muse, Yale UNiversity Press 2003, p. 109:
      Gainsborough shows her wearing a blue and white striped silk wrapping gown, known as a levite: a clever and subtle choice of costume, vaguely ‘oriental’ in mood, deriving its name from the theatre.

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