One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Engineering. Each of two heavy beams located on either side of the cylinder in some early steam engines, which are pivoted centrally to oscillate through a small arc and transmit reciprocating motion from the cross head of the pistons to the connecting rods or crankshaft. Frequently attributive Now historical.
2In a firearm: a lever that is situated alongside the action and operated by the user, typically to allow the barrel to be opened for loading and locked to the action for firing.
3Generally. A lever situated at the side of something.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Transactions of the Society of Arts. From side + lever.
side lever/ˈsʌɪd ˌliːvə/
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