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Elevator vs. Lift: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
An elevator is a platform or compartment for moving people or goods vertically between floors, while a lift can also mean the same or refer to the act of raising something up.
Elevator vs. Lift

Key Differences

The word "elevator" is predominantly used in American English to describe a compartment moving vertically in buildings. "Lift" is the British English equivalent, but it also has broader meanings.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023
In the U.S., elevators are a common term for vertical transportation in buildings, while in the UK and other Commonwealth countries, the same is referred to as a lift.
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Dec 07, 2023
Both elevator and lift, in the context of vertical transportation, serve the same purpose of moving people or goods between different levels of a structure.
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Dec 07, 2023
Apart from being a synonym for elevator, lift can also mean to physically raise something, providing a broader range of use compared to elevator.
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Dec 07, 2023
The word lift is used in various phrases and idioms, such as "giving someone a lift," which can mean providing a ride in a car or cheering someone up, unlike the more functionally specific term elevator.
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Dec 07, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

A platform or compartment for vertical transportation in buildings
Same as elevator, but also means to raise something up
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Dec 07, 2023

Regional Usage

Predominantly American English
British English and other Commonwealth countries
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Dec 07, 2023

Functional Use

Specifically for moving between floors
Used for both vertical transportation and raising objects
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Dec 07, 2023

Contextual Range

Limited to transportation context
Wider range, including transport and physical action
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Dec 07, 2023

Idiomatic Use

Less common in idioms
Common in various idioms and phrases
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Elevator and Lift Definitions

Elevator

An elevator can transport goods in commercial or industrial settings.
The warehouse used a freight elevator for heavy goods.
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Nov 22, 2023

Lift

In aviation, lift refers to the force that keeps an aircraft airborne.
The wings generate lift to keep the plane flying.
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Nov 22, 2023

Elevator

In aviation, an elevator controls an aircraft's pitch.
The pilot adjusted the elevator to stabilize the plane.
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Nov 22, 2023

Lift

To direct or carry from a lower to a higher position; raise
Lift one's eyes.
Lifted the suitcase.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

In agriculture, a grain elevator stores and moves grain.
The grain elevator was full after the harvest.
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Nov 22, 2023
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Lift

To transport by air
The helicopter lifted the entire team to the meet.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

An elevator is a platform for moving people between floors in a building.
They took the elevator to the 10th floor.
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Lift

To revoke by taking back; rescind
Lifted the embargo.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

A platform or an enclosure raised and lowered in a vertical shaft to transport people or freight.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To bring an end to (a blockade or siege) by removing forces.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

The enclosure or platform with its operating equipment, motor, cables, and accessories.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To cease (artillery fire) in an area.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

A movable control surface, usually attached to the horizontal stabilizer of an aircraft, that is used to produce motion up or down.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To raise in condition, rank, or esteem
Work that lifted her in the eyes of her colleagues.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

A mechanism, often with buckets or scoops attached to a conveyor, used for hoisting materials.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To uplift; elate
Your telephone call really lifted my spirits.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

See grain elevator.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To remove (plants) from the ground for transplanting.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

Anything that raises or uplifts.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To project or sound in loud, clear tones
Lifted their voices in song.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

A permanent construction with a built-in platform or cab that can be raised and lowered, used to transport people and goods, as between different floors of a building.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(Informal) To steal; pilfer
A thief lifted my wallet.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

A silo used for storing wheat, corn or other grain (grain elevator).
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(Informal) To copy from something already published; plagiarize
Lifted whole paragraphs from the encyclopedia.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

(aeronautics) A control surface of an aircraft responsible for controlling the pitching motion of the machine.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To pay off or clear (a debt or mortgage, for example).
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

A dental instrument used to pry up ("elevate") teeth in difficult extractions, or depressed portions of bone.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To perform cosmetic surgery on (the face, for example), especially in order to remove wrinkles or sagging skin.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

(anatomy) Any muscle that serves to raise a part of the body, such as the leg or the eye.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(Sports) To hit (a golf ball) very high into the air.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

A type of shoe having an insert lift to make the wearer appear taller.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To pick up (a golf ball) to place it in a better lie.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

One who, or that which, raises or lifts up anything.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To shoot or flip (a puck) so that it rises sharply off the ice.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

A mechanical contrivance, usually an endless belt or chain with a series of scoops or buckets, for transferring grain to an upper loft for storage.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To rise; ascend.
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Elevator

A cage or platform (called an elevator car) and the hoisting machinery in a hotel, warehouse, mine, etc., for conveying persons, goods, etc., to or from different floors or levels; - called in England a lift; the cage or platform itself.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To yield to upward pressure
These windows lift easily.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

A building for elevating, storing, and discharging, grain.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To disappear or disperse by or as if by rising
By afternoon the smog had lifted.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

A muscle which serves to raise a part of the body, as the leg or the eye.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To stop temporarily
The rain lifted by morning.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

An instrument for raising a depressed portion of a bone.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To become elevated; soar
Their spirits lifted when help came.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

A movable plane or group of planes used to control the altitude or fore-and-aft poise or inclination of an airship or flying machine.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

The act or process of rising or raising to a higher position.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

Lifting device consisting of a platform or cage that is raised and lowered mechanically in a vertical shaft in order to move people from one floor to another in a building
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Power or force available for raising
The lift of a pump.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

The airfoil on the tailplane of an aircraft that makes it ascend or descend
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

An organized effort or a flight transporting supplies or people by airplane; an airlift.
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Oct 19, 2023

Elevator

An elevator is a device for lifting something to a higher position.
The construction site used an elevator to lift materials.
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Nov 22, 2023

Lift

The extent or height to which something is raised or rises; the amount of elevation.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

The distance or space through which something is raised or rises.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

A rise or an elevation in the level of the ground.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

An elevation of the spirits
The good news gave us a lift.
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Lift

A raised, high, or erect position, as of a part of the body
The lift of his chin.
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Lift

A machine or device designed to pick up, raise, or carry something.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

One of the layers of leather, rubber, or other material making up the heel of a shoe.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Chiefly British A passenger or cargo elevator.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

A ride in a vehicle given to help someone reach a destination
Gave my friend a lift into town.
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Lift

Assistance or help
Gave her a lift with her heavy packages.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

A set of pumps used in a mine.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

The component of the total aerodynamic force acting on an airfoil or on an entire aircraft or winged missile perpendicular to the relative wind and normally exerted in an upward direction, opposing the pull of gravity.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(ambitransitive) To raise or rise.
The fog eventually lifted, leaving the streets clear.
You never lift a finger to help me!
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To steal.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To source directly without acknowledgement; to plagiarise.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To arrest (a person).
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(transitive) To remove (a ban, restriction, etc.).
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(transitive) To alleviate, to lighten (pressure, tension, stress, etc.)
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(transitive) to cause to move upwards.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To lift weights; to weight-lift.
She lifts twice a week at the gym.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To try to raise something; to exert the strength for raising or bearing.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To elevate or improve in rank, condition, etc.; often with up.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(obsolete) To bear; to support.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To collect, as moneys due; to raise.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(programming) To transform (a function) into a corresponding function in a different context.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(finance) To buy a security or other asset previously offered for sale.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To take (hounds) off the existing scent and move them to another spot.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

An act of lifting or raising.
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Lift

The act of transporting someone in a vehicle; a ride; a trip.
He gave me a lift to the bus station.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Mechanical device for vertically transporting goods or people between floors in a building.
Take the lift to the fourth floor.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

An upward force, such as the force that keeps aircraft aloft.
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Lift

(measurement) The difference in elevation between the upper pool and lower pool of a waterway, separated by lock.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

A thief.
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Lift

(dance) The lifting of a dance partner into the air.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Permanent construction with a built-in platform that is lifted vertically.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(figurative) An improvement in mood.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

The amount or weight to be lifted.
What's the maximum lift of this crane?
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

The space or distance through which anything is lifted.
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Lift

A rise; a degree of elevation.
The lift of a lock in canals
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Lift

A liftgate.
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Lift

(nautical) A rope leading from the masthead to the extremity of a yard below, and used for raising or supporting the end of the yard.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(engineering) One of the steps of a cone pulley.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

(shoemaking) A layer of leather in the heel of a shoe.
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Lift

(horology) That portion of the vibration of a balance during which the impulse is given.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Air.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

The sky; the heavens; firmament; atmosphere.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

The sky; the atmosphere; the firmament.
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Lift

Act of lifting; also, that which is lifted.
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Lift

The space or distance through which anything is lifted; as, a long lift.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Help; assistance, as by lifting.
The goat gives the fox a lift.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

That by means of which a person or thing lifts or is lifted
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Lift

A rise; a degree of elevation; as, the lift of a lock in canals.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

A lift gate. See Lift gate, below.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

A rope leading from the masthead to the extremity of a yard below; - used for raising or supporting the end of the yard.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

One of the steps of a cone pulley.
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Lift

A layer of leather in the heel.
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Lift

That portion of the vibration of a balance during which the impulse is given.
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Lift

A brightening of the spirits; encouragement; as, the campaign workers got a lift from the President's endorsement.
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Lift

To move in a direction opposite to that of gravitation; to raise; to elevate; to bring up from a lower place to a higher; to upheave; sometimes implying a continued support or holding in the higher place; - said of material things; as, to lift the foot or the hand; to lift a chair or a burden.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To raise, elevate, exalt, improve, in rank, condition, estimation, character, etc.; - often with up.
The Roman virtues lift up mortal man.
Lest, being lifted up with pride.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To bear; to support.
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Lift

To collect, as moneys due; to raise.
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Lift

To steal; to carry off by theft (esp. cattle); as, to lift a drove of cattle.
He ne'er lift up his hand but conquered.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To try to raise something; to exert the strength for raising or bearing.
Strained by lifting at a weight too heavy.
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Lift

To rise; to become or appear raised or elevated; as, the fog lifts; the land lifts to a ship approaching it.
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

To steal; also, to live by theft.
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Lift

The act of giving temporary assistance
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Lift

The component of the aerodynamic forces acting on an airfoil that opposes gravity
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Lift

The event of something being raised upward;
An elevation of the temperature in the afternoon
A raising of the land resulting from volcanic activity
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Lift

A wave that lifts the surface of the water or ground
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Lift

A powered conveyance that carries skiers up a hill
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

A device worn in a shoe or boot to make the wearer look taller or to correct a shortened leg
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

One of the layers forming the heel of a shoe or boot
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Lifting device consisting of a platform or cage that is raised and lowered mechanically in a vertical shaft in order to move people from one floor to another in a building
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Lift

Plastic surgery to remove wrinkles and other signs of aging from your face; an incision is made near the hair line and skin is pulled back and excess tissue is excised;
Some actresses have more than one face lift
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Transportation of people or goods by air (especially when other means of access are unavailable)
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Lift

A ride in a car;
He gave me a lift home
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Lift

The act of raising something;
He responded with a lift of his eyebrow
Fireman learn several different raises for getting ladders up
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Raise from a lower to a higher position;
Raise your hands
Lift a load
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Lift

Take hold of something and move it to a different location;
Lift the box onto the table
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Lift

Move upwards;
Lift one's eyes
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Move upward;
The fog lifted
The smoke arose from the forest fire
The mist uprose from the meadows
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Make audible;
He lifted a war whoop
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Annul by recalling or rescinding;
He revoked the ban on smoking
Lift an embargo
Vacate a death sentence
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

Make off with belongings of others
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Lift

Raise or haul up with or as if with mechanical help;
Hoist the bicycle onto the roof of the car
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Lift

Invigorate or heighten;
Lift my spirits
Lift his ego
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Lift

Raise in rank or condition;
The new law lifted many people from poverty
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Lift

Take off or away by decreasing;
Lift the pressure
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Lift

Rise up;
The building rose before them
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Lift

Pay off (a mortgage)
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Lift

Take without referencing from someone else's writing or speech; of intellectual property
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Lift

Take illegally;
Rustle cattle
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Lift

Fly people or goods to or from places not accessible by other means;
Food is airlifted into Bosnia
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Lift

Take (root crops) out of the ground;
Lift potatoes
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Lift

Call to stop the hunt or to retire, as of hunting dogs
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Lift

Rise upward, as from pressure or moisture;
The floor is lifting slowly
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Lift

Put an end to;
Lift a ban
Raise a siege
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Lift

Remove (hair) by scalping
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Lift

Remove from a seedbed or from a nursery;
Lift the tulip bulbs
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Lift

Remove from a surface;
The detective carefully lifted some fingerprints from the table
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Lift

Perform cosmetic surgery on someone's face
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Oct 19, 2023

Lift

A lift is a compartment for moving people or goods between building floors.
She used the lift to reach her apartment.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Lift

Lift means to raise something to a higher position.
He can lift heavy weights at the gym.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Lift

In British English, a lift can mean a ride in a car.
Can you give me a lift to the station?
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Lift

To lift is to cause spirits to rise or improve mood.
The good news lifted his spirits.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can lift be used to mean elevator in the US?

While it's understood, "elevator" is the more common term in American English.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Do elevators exist in all multi-story buildings?

Most modern multi-story buildings have elevators for accessibility and convenience.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

What is the main function of an elevator?

An elevator's main function is to move people or goods vertically between building floors.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

What does it mean to give someone a lift in the UK?

It means to offer someone a ride in a car.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Does lift have a different meaning in sports?

In sports, lift refers to the act of raising weights or the body.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Are elevators accessible to people with disabilities?

Modern elevators are designed to be accessible, with features like buttons within reach.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Are elevators safe for transporting goods?

Yes, especially freight elevators designed for goods transportation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

How do elevators work?

Elevators work by a system of cables and pulleys or hydraulic systems to move the compartment up and down.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

What are the safety features of an elevator?

Elevators have safety features like emergency brakes, alarms, and sometimes phones.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Can lift be a verb and a noun?

Yes, lift can be both a verb (to raise) and a noun (a device for raising).
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

What maintenance does an elevator require?

Regular safety inspections and maintenance are required for elevators.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Can lift mean something other than an elevator?

Yes, it can also mean to raise something or refer to an aerodynamic force.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Are elevators and lifts different in carrying capacity?

Generally, no. They can be designed to carry similar loads depending on their purpose.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Is "lift" used in aviation?

Yes, in aviation, lift refers to the aerodynamic force that keeps aircraft airborne.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Is it common to use elevators for residential buildings?

Yes, elevators are common in multi-story residential buildings.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Can lift be used figuratively?

Yes, it can be used figuratively to mean improving mood or situation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

What is a grain elevator?

A grain elevator is a facility for storing and transporting grain.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

How does the elevator's emergency button work?

It alerts building management or emergency services in case of trouble.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

What does lift mean in bodybuilding?

In bodybuilding, lift refers to raising weights as part of exercise.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

In what contexts is lift used idiomatically?

Lift is used in idioms relating to improving mood or offering rides.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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