Main definitions of levee in US English:

: levee1levee2

levee1

noun

  • 1An embankment built to prevent the overflow of a river.

    • ‘Engineers determined that the levees bordering the Mississippi River as it passes through the city were sufficient to withstand any surge produced by an SPH.’
    • ‘Do they allow people in low-lying neighborhoods where the old levees were breached to build again?’
    • ‘Sandbag by sandbag it's slow progress fixing the broken levees of New Orleans.’
    • ‘The authorities began working frantically up the river, using whatever materials and means available to construct dykes, dams and levees.’
    • ‘The storm overpowered levees protecting the region, producing floods 20 feet high.’
    • ‘The vice president, now in New Orleans, inspected flood damage and the damaged levees.’
    • ‘Hurricane Katrina put a boat upside down in a New Orleans resident's front yard after the protective levees broke.’
    • ‘Everybody knew those levees were built to sustain a Category 2 at most.’
    • ‘The immediate storm surge didn't overtop the levees.’
    • ‘Construction of levees and embankments prevents the floodplain from performing this function and transfers the problem further downstream to areas which were not subject to flooding.’
    • ‘Yet the marketplace remained relatively calm, appreciating that the authorities were apparently still operating on the dykes, dams and levees up the river.’
    • ‘Water flowing from the damaged levee near Lake Pontchartrain could have equally catastrophic effects, only unfolding more slowly.’
    • ‘Pumps would fail if the storm surge of up to 25 feet overwhelmed the city's levees.’
    • ‘Damaged levees have been repaired, and pumping of the remaining water continues.’
    • ‘He and 15 neighbors were stranded at his house for two days after the city's levees broke.’
    • ‘A lot of folks are working hard to repair that levee.’
    • ‘They were watching the TV news as the canal levee was breached again, flooding their neighbourhood anew.’
    • ‘The Senate debated adding funds for fixing levees, but it was too late.’
    • ‘Emergency workers are desperately trying to fix the broken levees in New Orleans tonight.’
    • ‘Now America has had to pay the price for ignoring loud warnings about the weakened levees of New Orleans.’
    barrage, barrier, wall, embankment, barricade, obstruction, hindrance, blockage
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    1. 1.1 A ridge of sediment deposited naturally alongside a river by overflowing water.
      • ‘Yet as the levees channeled the water, they also kept fresh soil carried by the muddy Mississippi from replenishing the sediments that made up the lowlands.’
      • ‘Marshland, containing cattails, bulrushes, and other reeds, would have been limited to the borders of the wooded ridges of levees, where the water level was consistently below the surface.’
      • ‘However, forests behind the levees, which we hereafter refer to as backwater swamps, are flooded only when the river level rises high enough for floodwaters to flow over the natural levees.’
      • ‘It was obvious, even in the 1950s, that the sediments of the historic spring floods no longer reached their natural resting grounds in levees, swamps, and marshes.’
      • ‘Sediment escaping from the channel during overbank flooding builds levees bordering the channel, and sheets of sand spread from the channels as crevasse splays.’
      • ‘High water can cover all these subtle topographies, but a swamp veteran like Charlie, or any local crawfisherman, will know when he's passing over a drowned waterway, or crossing a natural levee.’
      • ‘Transects were separated by 50 paces and most transects extended entirely over the attenuated crown of the natural levee of each forest avoiding any noticeable elevation gradient.’
      • ‘Portions of these protected lands still support forests on remnant natural levees, similar to those studied by Penfound and Howard.’
    2. 1.2North American A landing place; a quay.
      • ‘The men created a world of their own on the docks, levees, plantation landings, city quays, and steamboat decks of the Mississippi River economy.’
    3. 1.3US A ridge of earth surrounding a field to be irrigated.
      • ‘Rice fields were surrounded and divided by a series of embankments or levees.’

Origin

Early 18th century (originally US): from French levée, feminine past participle of lever ‘to lift’.

Pronunciation

levee

/ˈlɛvi//ˈlevē/

Main definitions of levee in US English:

: levee1levee2

levee2

noun

North American
archaic
  • 1A formal reception of visitors or guests.

    • ‘In other words, he was responsible for formal receptions - known as levees - and dinners.’
    1. 1.1historical An afternoon assembly for men held by the British monarch or their representative.
    2. 1.2 A reception of visitors just after rising from bed.
      social gathering, gathering, social occasion, social event, social function, function, get-together, celebration, reunion, festivity, jamboree, reception, at-home, soirée, social
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Origin

Late 17th century (denoting a reception of visitors after rising from bed): from French levé, variant of lever ‘rising’, from the verb lever.

Pronunciation

levee

/ˈlɛvi//ˈlevē/