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lift - definition and synonyms


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verb lift pronunciation in British English /lɪft/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlelifting
past tenselifted
past participlelifted
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  1. 1



    lift up

    [transitive] to move something to a higher position

    Lift the lid and look inside the box.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to take something in your hands and move it from one place to another
      lift something off/onto/from etc:

      We lifted the new books onto a shelf.

    2. b.
      [intransitive] to move to a higher position

      We watched the balloon lift slowly into the air.

    3. c.
      [transitive] to move your head or eyes upwards so that you can look at something
      lift something from something:

      He lifted his eyes from the newspaper as Kate walked into the room.

      lift something to something:

      Ruth lifted her face to the sun.

    4. d.
      [intransitive/transitive] to move a part of your body to a higher position

      Her shoulders lifted slightly but she didn’t say anything.

      Lie on the floor and try to lift your legs slowly.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to improve the situation that someone or something is in
    lift someone out of something:

    economic measures designed to lift the country out of recession

  3. 3
    [transitive] [often passive] to officially end a rule or law that stopped someone from doing something

    They’re hoping to get the ban lifted by the end of the month.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] if a bad mood or bad feeling lifts, you start to feel happier
    1. a.
      [transitive] to make someone feel happier

      She was lifted a little by the news that they had phoned.

      lift someone’s spirits:

      Being in the sunshine all day really lifted my spirits.

    2. b.
      [intransitive/transitive] if a weight or burden lifts or is lifted from you, you stop worrying about something and feel happier

      I felt as if a great financial burden had been lifted from my shoulders.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] if something such as cloud or fog lifts, the weather improves and you can see clearly again
  6. 6
    [transitive] informal to steal something

    I watched him lift a couple of CDs and stuff them into his jacket.

    1. a.
      if you lift someone else’s words or ideas, you use them and pretend that they are yours
  7. 7
    [transitive] to cause the amount or level of something to increase

    An increase in interest rates will lift the value of the dollar.

  8. 8
    [transitive] to dig vegetables or other plants out of the ground
    Synonyms and related words
  9. 9



    lift up

    [intransitive/transitive] formal if your voice lifts, or if you lift it, you start to talk more loudly
  10. 10
    [transitive] to airlift something or someone

    The two men have been lifted to safety.

phrasal verbs



to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

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the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

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