Levity
Levity Lev"i*ty (l[e^]v"[i^]*t[y^]), n. [L. levitas, fr. levis light in weight; akin to levare to raise. See {Lever}, n.] 1. The quality of weighing less than something else of equal bulk; relative lightness, especially as shown by rising through, or floating upon, a contiguous substance; buoyancy; -- opposed to {gravity}. [1913 Webster]

He gave the form of levity to that which ascended; to that which descended, the form of gravity. --Sir. W. Raleigh. [1913 Webster]

This bubble by reason of its comparative levity to the fluidity that incloses it, would ascend to the top. --Bentley. [1913 Webster]

2. Lack of gravity and earnestness in deportment or character; trifling gayety; frivolity; sportiveness; vanity. `` A spirit of levity and libertinism.'' --Atterbury. [1913 Webster]

He never employed his omnipotence out of levity. --Calamy. [1913 Webster]

3. Lack of steadiness or constancy; disposition to change; fickleness; volatility. [1913 Webster]

The levity that is fatigued and disgusted with everything of which it is in possession. --Burke.

Syn: Inconstancy; thoughtlessness; unsteadiness; inconsideration; volatility; flightiness.

Usage: {Levity}, {Volatility}, {Flightiness}. All these words relate to outward conduct. Levity springs from a lightness of mind which produces a disregard of the proprieties of time and place.Volatility is a degree of levity which causes the thoughts to fly from one object to another, without resting on any for a moment. Flightiness is volatility carried to an extreme which often betrays its subject into gross impropriety or weakness. Levity of deportment, of conduct, of remark; volatility of temper, of spirits; flightiness of mind or disposition. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Synonyms:

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  • levity — (n.) want of seriousness, frivolity, 1560s, from L. levitatem (nom. levitas) lightness, frivolity, from levis light in weight (see LEVER (Cf. lever)) + ITY (Cf. ity) …   Etymology dictionary

  • levity — tightness, light mindedness, frivolity, flippancy, volatility, flightiness Analogous words: foolishness or folly, silliness, absurdity (see corresponding adjectives at FOOLISH): gaiety, liveliness, spright liness, vivaciousness or vivacity (see… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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  • levity — ► NOUN ▪ the treatment of a serious matter with humour or lack of respect. ORIGIN Latin levitas, from levis light …   English terms dictionary

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  • levity — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) I n. frivolity (see folly); lightness (see levity). II Lightness in weight Nouns 1. levity, lightness, buoyancy, imponderability, weightlessness, volatility, airiness, levitation; fermentation,… …   English dictionary for students

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