1. [syn: level, spirit level]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Level \Lev"el\ (l[e^]v"[e^]l), n. [OE. level, livel, OF. livel,
F. niveau, fr. L. libella level, water level, a plumb level,
dim. of libra pound, measure for liquids, balance, water
poise, level. Cf. Librate, Libella.]
1. A line or surface to which, at every point, a vertical or
plumb line is perpendicular; a line or surface which is
everywhere parallel to the surface of still water; -- this
is the true level, and is a curve or surface in which all
points are equally distant from the center of the earth,
or rather would be so if the earth were an exact sphere.
2. A horizontal line or plane; that is, a straight line or a
plane which is tangent to a true level at a given point
and hence parallel to the horizon at that point; -- this
is the apparent level at the given point.
3. An approximately horizontal line or surface at a certain
degree of altitude, or distance from the center of the
earth; as, to climb from the level of the coast to the
level of the plateau and then descend to the level of the
valley or of the sea.
After draining of the level in Northamptonshire.
--Sir M. Hale.
Shot from the deadly level of a gun. --Shak.
4. Hence, figuratively, a certain position, rank, standard,
degree, quality, character, etc., conceived of as in one
of several planes of different elevation.
Providence, for the most part, sets us on a level.
Somebody there of his own level. --Swift.
Be the fair level of thy actions laid
As temperance wills and prudence may persuade.
5. A uniform or average height; a normal plane or altitude; a
condition conformable to natural law or which will secure
a level surface; as, moving fluids seek a level.
When merit shall find its level. --F. W.
6. (Mech. & Surv.)
(a) An instrument by which to find a horizontal line, or
adjust something with reference to a horizontal line.
(b) A measurement of the difference of altitude of two
points, by means of a level; as, to take a level.
7. A horizontal passage, drift, or adit, in a mine.
Air level, a spirit level. See Spirit level (below).
Box level, a spirit level in which a glass-covered box is
used instead of a tube.
Carpenter's level, Mason's level, either the plumb level
or a straight bar of wood, in which is imbedded a small
Level of the sea, the imaginary level from which heights
and depths are calculated, taken at a mean distance
between high and low water.
Line of levels, a connected series of measurements, by
means of a level, along a given line, as of a railroad, to
ascertain the profile of the ground.
Plumb level, one in which a horizontal bar is placed in
true position by means of a plumb line, to which it is at
Spirit level, one in which the adjustment to the horizon is
shown by the position of a bubble in alcohol or ether
contained in a nearly horizontal glass tube, or a circular
box with a glass cover.
Surveyor's level, a telescope, with a spirit level
attached, and with suitable screws, etc., for accurate
adjustment, the whole mounted on a tripod, for use in
leveling; -- called also leveling instrument.
Water level, an instrument to show the level by means of
the surface of water in a trough, or in upright tubes
connected by a pipe.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Spirit \Spir"it\, n. [OF. espirit, esperit, F. esprit, L.
spiritus, from spirare to breathe, to blow. Cf. Conspire,
Expire, Esprit, Sprite.]
1. Air set in motion by breathing; breath; hence, sometimes,
life itself. [Obs.] "All of spirit would deprive."
The mild air, with season moderate,
Gently attempered, and disposed eo well,
That still it breathed foorth sweet spirit.
2. A rough breathing; an aspirate, as the letter h; also, a
mark to denote aspiration; a breathing. [Obs.]
Be it a letter or spirit, we have great use for it.
3. Life, or living substance, considered independently of
corporeal existence; an intelligence conceived of apart
from any physical organization or embodiment; vital
essence, force, or energy, as distinct from matter.
4. The intelligent, immaterial and immortal part of man; the
soul, in distinction from the body in which it resides;
the agent or subject of vital and spiritual functions,
whether spiritual or material.
There is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the
Almighty giveth them understanding. --Job xxxii.
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith
without works is dead also. --James ii.
Spirit is a substance wherein thinking, knowing,
doubting, and a power of moving, do subsist.
5. Specifically, a disembodied soul; the human soul after it
has left the body.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was,
and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Ye gentle spirits far away,
With whom we shared the cup of grace. --Keble.
6. Any supernatural being, good or bad; an apparition; a
specter; a ghost; also, sometimes, a sprite,; a fairy; an
Whilst young, preserve his tender mind from all
impressions of spirits and goblins in the dark.
7. Energy, vivacity, ardor, enthusiasm, courage, etc.
"Write it then, quickly," replied Bede; and
summoning all his spirits together, like the last
blaze of a candle going out, he indited it, and
8. One who is vivacious or lively; one who evinces great
activity or peculiar characteristics of mind or temper;
as, a ruling spirit; a schismatic spirit.
Such spirits as he desired to please, such would I
choose for my judges. --Dryden.
9. Temper or disposition of mind; mental condition or
disposition; intellectual or moral state; -- often in the
plural; as, to be cheerful, or in good spirits; to be
downhearted, or in bad spirits.
God has . . . made a spirit of building succeed a
spirit of pulling down. --South.
A perfect judge will read each work of wit
With the same spirit that its author writ. --Pope.
10. Intent; real meaning; -- opposed to the letter, or to
formal statement; also, characteristic quality,
especially such as is derived from the individual genius
or the personal character; as, the spirit of an
enterprise, of a document, or the like.
11. Tenuous, volatile, airy, or vapory substance, possessed
of active qualities.
All bodies have spirits . . . within them. --Bacon.
12. Any liquid produced by distillation; especially, alcohol,
the spirits, or spirit, of wine (it having been first
distilled from wine): -- often in the plural.
13. pl. Rum, whisky, brandy, gin, and other distilled liquors
having much alcohol, in distinction from wine and malt
14. (Med.) A solution in alcohol of a volatile principle. Cf.
Tincture. --U. S. Disp.
15. (Alchemy) Any one of the four substances, sulphur, sal
ammoniac, quicksilver, or arsenic (or, according to some,
The four spirits and the bodies seven. --Chaucer.
16. (Dyeing) Stannic chloride. See under Stannic.
Note: Spirit is sometimes joined with other words, forming
compounds, generally of obvious signification; as,
spirit-moving, spirit-searching, spirit-stirring, etc.
Astral spirits, Familiar spirits, etc. See under
Astral, Familiar, etc.
(a) (Physiol.) The fluid which at one time was supposed
to circulate through the nerves and was regarded as
the agent of sensation and motion; -- called also the
nervous fluid, or nervous principle.
(b) Physical health and energy; frolicsomeness;
Ardent spirits, strong alcoholic liquors, as brandy, rum,
whisky, etc., obtained by distillation.
Holy Spirit, or The Spirit (Theol.), the Spirit of God,
or the third person of the Trinity; the Holy Ghost. The
spirit also signifies the human spirit as influenced or
animated by the Divine Spirit.
Proof spirit. (Chem.) See under Proof.
Rectified spirit (Chem.), spirit rendered purer or more
concentrated by redistillation, so as to increase the
percentage of absolute alcohol.
Spirit butterfly (Zool.), any one of numerous species of
delicate butterflies of tropical America belonging to the
genus Ithomia. The wings are gauzy and nearly destitute
Spirit duck. (Zool.)
(a) The buffle-headed duck.
(b) The golden-eye.
Spirit lamp (Art), a lamp in which alcohol or methylated
spirit is burned.
Spirit level. See under Level.
Spirit of hartshorn. (Old Chem.) See under Hartshorn.
Spirit of Mindererus (Med.), an aqueous solution of acetate
of ammonium; -- named after R. Minderer, physician of
Spirit of nitrous ether (Med. Chem.), a pale yellow liquid,
of a sweetish taste and a pleasant ethereal odor. It is
obtained by the distillation of alcohol with nitric and
sulphuric acids, and consists essentially of ethyl nitrite
with a little acetic aldehyde. It is used as a
diaphoretic, diuretic, antispasmodic, etc. Called also
sweet spirit of niter.
Spirit of salt (Chem.), hydrochloric acid; -- so called
because obtained from salt and sulphuric acid. [Obs.]
Spirit of sense, the utmost refinement of sensation. [Obs.]
Spirits of turpentine, or Spirit of turpentine (Chem.),
rectified oil of turpentine, a transparent, colorless,
volatile, and very inflammable liquid, distilled from the
turpentine of the various species of pine; camphine. It is
commonly used to remove paint from surfaces, or to dissole
oil-based paint. See Camphine.
Spirit of vitriol (Chem.), sulphuric acid; -- so called
because formerly obtained by the distillation of green
Spirit of vitriolic ether (Chem.) ethyl ether; -- often but
incorrectly called sulphuric ether. See Ether. [Obs.]
Spirits of wine, or Spirit of wine (Chem.), alcohol; --
so called because formerly obtained by the distillation of
Spirit rapper, one who practices spirit rapping; a "medium"
Spirit rapping, an alleged form of communication with the
spirits of the dead by raps. See Spiritualism, 3.
Sweet spirit of niter. See Spirit of nitrous ether,
Syn: Life; ardor; energy; fire; courage; animatioon;
cheerfulness; vivacity; enterprise.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: indicator that establishes the horizontal when a bubble is
centered in a tube of liquid [syn: level, spirit level]