Definition of levy in English:



  • 1Impose (a tax, fee, or fine)

    ‘a tax of two per cent was levied on all cargoes’
    • ‘The Green Party wants to levy a windfall tax on land when it is zoned for development.’
    • ‘The demonstration was in opposition to government plans to levy a new tax on those employing guest workers as domestics, and to cut the minimum wages of maids.’
    • ‘They reduce rates levied on ordinary income, with the largest rate cut going to the wealthiest taxpayers.’
    • ‘Brown also rejected calls to levy a windfall tax on the oil companies, which have announced significantly increased profits in the last month.’
    • ‘Different payments were levied according to how many windows a property had.’
    • ‘Government officials stole relief money assigned to rebuild ruined rice terraces and then local authorities attempted to levy a tax on villagers.’
    • ‘Australian governments levy a number of taxes and charges on road transportation.’
    • ‘The company also levies an initial connection fee of 10p on all calls.’
    • ‘Stamp duty on all residential investment property is now levied at 9 per cent.’
    • ‘As with every other fine levied by courts, penalties go to the Treasury.’
    • ‘Some taxing authorities levy penalties that can equal as much as 30 percent of the amount owed.’
    • ‘Many other European Union countries levy no tax on share transactions.’
    • ‘The 3 per cent initial charge is levied only on the sum invested by the investor.’
    • ‘The duty is levied by the government on flights leaving any UK airport.’
    • ‘Inheritance tax is levied only on the estate, not on the recipients of any exempt gifts.’
    • ‘Taxes are levied on the basis of income and property.’
    • ‘The evaluation also found that schools across the country levied significantly different fees.’
    • ‘James Madison in 1784 opposed an attempt by the Virginia legislature to levy a tax to support religious education.’
    • ‘The Virginia legislature proposed to levy a tax to support religious education, but individuals were free to choose which church was to receive the money.’
    • ‘The tax is now levied only on estates valued over $675,000, an exemption due to rise under current law to $1 million by 2006.’
    impose, charge, exact, demand, raise, collect, gather
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    1. 1.1Impose a tax, fee, or fine on.
      ‘there will be powers to levy the owner’
      • ‘An earlier idea he raised to levy motorists had met with severe criticism.’
      • ‘He said the Department of Environment had first to approve these designations before the Council can levy the owners of derelict sites.’
    2. 1.2[no object]Seize (property) to satisfy a legal judgement.
      ‘there were no goods to levy upon’
      • ‘One option open to it, he said, was to move against the organisation as a body corporate and levy upon the Mucurapo Road property.’
  • 2archaic Enlist (someone) for military service.

    ‘he sought to levy one man from each vill for service’
    • ‘Altogether, 42,500 troops were levied for service in Ireland during the War, representing perhaps 19 per cent of available manpower in England and Wales.’
    1. 2.1Begin to wage (war)
      ‘they then proceeded without further ceremony to levy war upon the king’
      • ‘Patrice Ford and Jeffrey Battle pled guilty today to charges of conspiring to levy war against the United States.’


  • 1An act of levying a tax, fee, or fine.

    ‘police forces receive 49 per cent of their funding via a levy on the rates’
    • ‘They are fiercely against a levy on plastic bags, even though a levy in Ireland saw a 90 per cent reduction in bags over six months.’
    • ‘These steps, ranging from the types of projects to be financed by the levy to the management of resources collected, were to be locally defined by the municipal councils.’
    • ‘In effect, the bookies would face a levy on profits to help those who are damaged by betting.’
    • ‘Tesco alone has said it expects the new levy to reduce bag use by 88 million.’
    • ‘Peresson described the new tax as ‘a joke’ because, he claimed, many bags used by shoppers were the lower quality bags for food and these were exempt from the levy.’
    • ‘The levy on other blank media, however, remains intact.’
    • ‘Cowman said the levy would have a disproportionate effect on independent brokers, compared to bigger players such as banks who could build these costs into their charges to consumers.’
    • ‘The MPSC program is funded by a two-cent levy on sealed beverage containers and the money generated through the levy is used as support payments to municipalities.’
    tax, tariff, toll, excise, duty, fee, imposition, impost, exaction, assessment, tithe, payment
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    1. 1.1A tax raised by levying.
      ‘we all pay a fossil fuel levy in our electricity bills’
      • ‘The levy of 30% on cattle exported on the hoof, on the other hand, is aimed at discouraging the export of live animals from the country.’
      • ‘New levies were imposed on cigarettes, wine and beer.’
      • ‘A proposal to introduce a levy on plastic bags will be introduced into Federal Parliament this week.’
      • ‘In the Government's view, the only practical and equitable solution is to increase the petrol levy.’
      • ‘He called on the government to appoint a regulator to monitor the introduction of all development levies proposed.’
      • ‘The cost of these works would have been partially offset by development levies collected in the area.’
      • ‘We have seen accident compensation levies increase in other areas.’
      • ‘Brown chose to include consideration of the incidence of import and export levies or tariffs in his text.’
      • ‘The planning authority said the levy was imposed because public funding for these works will not be available.’
      • ‘Owners should also be prepared for the possibility of a levy being charged.’
      • ‘City employees, in collaboration with hoodlums, have been imposing illegal levies on street vendors.’
      • ‘He will not be there to help the businessman pay his new, increased insurance levies.’
      • ‘Part 2 proposes the increased accident compensation levy.’
      • ‘It is a levy assessed in an unwritten manner and generally executed with precision in order to diminish the offender and enrich the supplier.’
      • ‘All revenue from the increased fuel excise levy will be used to fund land transport initiatives.’
      • ‘Environmental groups said a plastic bag levy would change attitudes to waste disposal across Scotland.’
      • ‘The Government is introducing a 12p levy on plastic shopping bags from February.’
      • ‘Governments at settlement sites could collect a tiny levy from all foreign exchange transactions.’
      • ‘Basson explained that fuel levies are collected by the major oil companies in the country.’
      • ‘The Government has announced that it will increase the accident compensation levy for vets next year.’
    2. 1.2A sum collected as a supplement to an existing subscription.
      ‘the trade-union political levy’
      • ‘This means organising workplace collections and levies, taking strikers round meetings and workplaces in every town and city, organising delegations to demonstrations or to visit picket lines.’
      • ‘One woman said that she was ‘constantly having to argue against people’ saying that they wanted to pull out of the political levy.’
      • ‘Some £800 was raised for our hardship fund, with promises of more to come through levies and workplace collections.’
      • ‘He added that the strikers did not believe that the council had no money to pay them, since it was collecting rates and levies.’
      • ‘There are tens of thousands of our union members paying the political levy while the party that it funds is preparing to condemn them to the dole queue.’
      • ‘Institutions will face crippling fines of $100 per student if they collect levies or charges that in any way finance student unions, associations, clubs or services.’
      • ‘A large number were trade union members paying the political levy to the Labour Party, and there were many individual Labour Party members as well.’
    3. 1.3An item or items of property seized to satisfy a legal judgement.
  • 2historical An act of enlisting troops.

    ‘Edward I and Edward II had made substantial use of the feudal levy for raising an army’
    • ‘The fyrd was raised by selective recruitment, rather than a general levy, usually drawing one man for every five hides of land.’
    • ‘The immediate cause of rebellion was a national levy of 300,000 conscripts in March 1793.’
    1. 2.1A body of troops that have been enlisted.
      ‘lightly armed local levies’
      • ‘The mass of the British armies was the levies, summoned from the farms.’
      • ‘He accomplished this largely with local levies and displayed Roman power to the eastern kingdoms, including (for the first time) Parthia.’
      • ‘Traditionally the Afghan governments relied on three military institutions: the regular army, tribal levies, and community militias.’
      • ‘Rather than respond to Vikings with ad hoc levies of his local noblemen which were disbanded when the crisis had passed, the West Saxons would now always have a force in the field.’
      • ‘They had been three times beaten back from the breached walls of Changsha by similar gentry-led local levies.’


Middle English (as a noun): from Old French levee, feminine past participle of lever raise, from Latin levare, from levis light.