The Meaning of Levity: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of levity? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word levity, including its definition, usage, word origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word levity mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as other dictionaries like American Heritage and Collins English Dictionary, the word levity is a noun that refers to excessive or unseemly frivolity, or a lack of steadiness, or a changeableness. This lightness of mind or inappropriate lack of seriousness is not always appropriate. The pronunciation of levity is lɛ.vɪ.ti. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today to memorize its definition. 

Something that contains levity can be very fun and entertaining. This could be a funny movie, a comedian, or anything else that creates a happy environment. However, the word levity can sometimes imply inappropriate timing. You never want to create levity in an inappropriate circumstance. If someone is joking around at a funeral, this would be an inappropriate time for levity. Good times for levity could be at a party, with a group of friends, or with your family in the appropriate circumstance. Bad times for levity could include serious business meetings or Grim situations. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean levity. You may notice that some of these levity translations look and sound alike. These are called cognates. Cognates are when two words look and sound similar as well as mean something similar across languages. These are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Czech: lehkomyslnost‎ (fem.)
  •  Estonian: kerglus‎
  •  Finnish: kepeys‎, kevytmielisyys‎
  •  Irish: éadroime‎ (fem.)
  •  French: nonchalance‎ (fem.), légèreté‎ (fem.)
  •  Portuguese: leveza‎
  •  Persian: جلفی‎ (jelfi)
  •  Armenian: թեթեւություն‎
  •  Russian: несерьёзность‎ (fem.), легкомы́слие‎ (masc.), ветреность‎

What is the origin of the word levity?

According to Etymonline, the word levity has been used since the 1560s in Middle English. This word comes from the French levite and Latin levitatem, the nominative levitas meaning lightness. This word can be used both literally and figuratively, from the Latin levis meaning light, from the Proto-Indo-European root legwh meaning light. This was used in old science between 16c-17c that referred to the opposite of gravity. Related words include levitate and light.

What are synonyms and antonyms of levity?

There are many different words that one can choose to use in place of the word levity. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another given word or phrase. Synonyms are a great way to expand your vocabulary and to avoid repeating yourself in spoken or written English. This list of synonyms for the word levity is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  pleasantry
  •  amusement
  •  festivity
  •  frivolity
  •  repartee
  •  flightiness
  •  fickleness
  •  jocularity
  •  absurdity
  •  picnic
  •  happiness
  •  lightheartedness
  •  flippancy
  •  volatility
  •  mirth
  •  hilarity
  •  high spirits
  •  wit
  •  folly
  •  trifling
  •  funniness
  •  facetiousness
  •  foolishness
  •  laughs
  •  triviality
  •  buoyancy
  •  giddiness
  •  silliness
  •  merriment
  •  instability
  •  sportiveness
  •  gayety

There are also a number of words and phrases that have the opposite meaning of the word levity. These opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another great way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word levity is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  sincerity
  •  intentness
  •  foreboding
  •  calmness
  •  bitterness
  •  malaise
  •  mourning
  •  discouragement
  •  solemnity
  •  sternness
  •  weariness
  •  oppression
  •  dumps
  •  pessimism
  •  doldrums
  •  blue devils
  •  anguish
  •  humorlessness
  •  saturninity
  •  heavy-heartedness
  •  thoughtfulness
  •  dismals
  •  desolation
  •  cheerlessness
  •  heaviness
  •  misgiving
  •  morbidity
  •  low spirits
  •  dolor
  •  disconsolateness
  •  serious-mindedness
  •  blue funk
  •  unhappiness
  •  despair
  •  distress
  •  vexation
  •  sorrow
  •  horror
  •  sober-mindedness
  •  dejection
  •  gravity
  •  catatonia
  •  sobriety
  •  staidness
  •  earnest
  •  misery
  •  coolness
  •  blues
  •  mopes
  •  woe
  •  sadness
  •  grief
  •  earnestness
  •  pensiveness
  •  despondency
  •  sedateness
  •  chagrin
  •  seriousness
  •  dullness
  •  downheartedness

How can the word levity be used in a sentence?

The word levity can be used in many different sentences. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today, or creating flashcards or a quiz to test yourself on memorizing the definition.Below are many examples of levity.

There was a bit of levity to the narrative tale told by the comedian. He had an infectious disposition and conduct even when spouting impossibilities. His ties even had little happy faces on them. Everything about his demeanor eased tension and invited laughter.

The fear of death from the troops tended to affect levity. While on a deportment, they tried to have a trait of merry joking and constancy, but their fear and temper affected their emotional states.

Shana was known for her merriness, levity, and humour. Her gaiety of disposition was not an unbecoming gaiety or inappropriate levity, but a levity of youth.

Her interaction with her date had a relative lightness and undercurrent of levity, but she was worried he wouldn’t have a note of realism or any useful truths on serious issues or subject matter. 

Maya preferred funny movies with a trace of levity and excessive laughter, while her former friends preferred straight horror territory or a disastrous flop with immoral behavior. She had always gone along with the worries of the group.

The boss had a preoccupation with much levity existing in his office. He felt they were a serious business and that meant there could be no force of levity or laughter.

The young journalist provided a lively coverage of the yoga festival, with just the right note of levity.

Overall, the word levity means a light-mindedness or a lack of appropriate seriousness. This word can refer to a person who is jovial and fun, but it can also imply that this person does not know when to be serious. This word is from the Latin levitas and of Indo-European roots.


  1. levity: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. LEVITY Synonyms: 31 Synonyms & Antonyms for LEVITY | Thesaurus 
  3. SERIOUSNESS Synonyms: 34 Synonyms & Antonyms for SERIOUSNESS | Thesaurus 
  4. Levity | Definition of Levity | Merriam-Webster