/lev"ee/, n., v., leveed, leveeing.
1. an embankment designed to prevent the flooding of a river.
2. Geol. See natural levee.
3. Agric. one of the small continuous ridges surrounding fields that are to be irrigated.
4. Hist. a landing place for ships; quay.
5. to furnish with a levee: to levee a treacherous stream.
[1710-20, Amer.; < F levée < ML levata embankment, n. use of fem. ptp. of L levare to raise, orig. lighten, akin to levis light, not heavy]
/lev"ee, le vee"/, n.
1. (in Great Britain) a public court assembly, held in the early afternoon, at which men only are received.
2. a reception, usually in someone's honor: a presidential levee at the White House.
3. Hist. a reception of visitors held on rising from bed, as formerly by a royal or other personage.
[1665-75; < F levé, var. sp. of lever rising (n. use of inf.) < L levare to raise; see LEVEE1]

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      any low ridge or earthen embankment built along the edges of a stream or river channel to prevent flooding of the adjacent land. Artificial levees are typically needed to control the flow of rivers meandering through broad, flat floodplains. Levees are usually embankments of dirt built wide enough so that they will not collapse or be eroded when saturated with moisture from rivers running at unusually high levels. Grass or some other matlike vegetation is planted on the top of the levee's bank so that its erosion will be kept to a minimum.

      Levees protecting inhabited river valley areas against inundations during floods were among the earliest engineering works. In ancient Egypt a series of levees was built along the left bank of the Nile River for more than 600 miles (966 km), from Aswan to the Mediterranean. The cooperative and coordinated enterprise involved in building such long, massive embankments must have been a strong incentive for the development of an organized society and a unified government in ancient Egypt, as well as in ancient Mesopotamia and China, which engaged in similar hydraulic engineering projects.

      One of the largest modern systems of levees is that built along the Mississippi River and its tributaries and backwaters in the broad alluvial valley extending southward from Cape Girardeau, Mo., to the Mississippi delta, a distance of about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) by river channel. These levees, begun by French settlers in Louisiana in the early 18th century, were in 1735 about 3 feet (0.9 m) high and had been constructed along the river's banks from 30 miles (48 km) north of New Orleans to 12 miles (19 km) south of that city. The system was extended until by the mid-1980s it included more than 3,500 miles (5,600 km) of levees having an average height of about 24 feet (7 m), with some levees reaching 50 feet (15 m) in height.

      Some silt-laden streams, as their flow slows, may deposit sediment in their bed between their enclosing levees and thus build their channels up higher than the surrounding floodplains. Such streams commonly breach the levees, flowing out onto lower ground and causing catastrophic floods. The lower portions of the Huang Ho in China are noted for this type of behaviour. The lower reaches of the Mississippi River also are poised on such “mid-valley ridges.”

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Universalium. 2010.

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/ , , , / (by a prince or great personage) / (along a river to prevent inundation)

Look at other dictionaries:

  • levee — levée …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • levée — [ l(ə)ve ] n. f. • v. 1200 « digue »; de 1. lever I ♦ Remblai (de terre, de pierres, de maçonnerie). ⇒ chaussée, digue. « À travers les étangs partait une levée de terre » (Bosco). Géol. Levée alluviale : alluvions formant un bourrelet le long du …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • levée — Levée. s. f. v. Action de lever, de recuëillir certaines choses. Ce qui se leve, ce qui se recuëille. Il se dit des fruits d une terre & alors il signifie, Cueillette, recolte. La levée des fruits luy appartient. Il se dit aussi des droits, des… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Levee — Lev ee (l[e^]v [ e]; often l[e^]v*[=e] in U. S.), n. [F. lever, fr. lever to raise, se lever to rise. See {Lever}, n.] 1. The act of rising. The sun s levee. Gray. [1913 Webster] 2. A morning assembly or reception of visitors, in distinction from …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • levee — ☆ levee1 [lev′ē ] n. [Fr levée, fem. pp. of OFr lever, to raise: see LEVER] 1. an embankment built alongside a river to prevent high water from flooding bordering land 2. a landing place, as a pier, on the bank of a river 3. a low ridge of earth… …   English World dictionary

  • Levee — Lev ee, v. t. To keep within a channel by means of levees; as, to levee a river. [U. S.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Levee — Lev ee, v. t. To attend the levee or levees of. [1913 Webster] He levees all the great. Young. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Levee — (frz. levée, spr. weh), Erhebung, Aufstand; Aushebung, Werbung; L. en masse (spr. ang mass ), kriegerisches Aufgebot der gesamten männlichen Bevölkerung …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • levee — Ⅰ. levee [1] ► NOUN ▪ a formal reception of visitors or guests. ORIGIN French, from lever to rise (such receptions were formerly held by a monarch after rising from bed). Ⅱ. levee [2] ► NOUN 1) an embankment built …   English terms dictionary

  • Levee — Lev ee, n. [F. lev[ e]e, fr. lever to raise. See {Lever}, and cf. {Levy}.] An embankment to prevent inundation; as, the levees along the Mississippi; sometimes, the steep bank of a river. [U. S.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Levée — (franz., spr. löwē ), Aufhebung; Aushebung (von Soldaten etc.); l.en masse, allgemeines Aufgebot (s. d.), Landsturm. L. auch soviel wie Einsammlung (von Feldfrüchten etc.); im Kartenspiel, besonders im Whistspiel, soviel wie Stich …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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