The word "lift" means to pick something up with your body or move something up with a machine of some sort.

  • How much weight can you lift?
  • You might hurt your back if you try to lift too much weight.
  • She’s unable to lift those boxes by herself.
  • An elevator can lift large groups of people from one floor of a building to the next.
  • A jack can be used to lift your car up off the ground if you need to change a tire.
  • Weightlifters lift weights to build their muscles.
man lifting weight
woman using exercise machine
They lift weights to stay in shape.

The word "lift" is used for other reasons:

  • A smile from his girlfriend lifted his spirits. (lift one’s spirits = to feel better; to improve one’s mood.)
  • A good score on the test lifted Sam’s confidence.
  • The sun came out after the fog lifted. (The fog disappeared. What is fog?)

Sometimes the verb "lift" means to steal:

  • The man lifted over $50,000 from the bank.
  • A woman who shoplifted some jewelry was arrested.

This word is also used as a noun:

  • Can I give you a lift? (Can I give you a ride in my car?)
  • The mechanic put the car on a lift in order to look at the suspension and the brakes.
  • Phil said the coffee gave him a lift. (a lift = a good feeling or a stimulant)

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This page was first published on December 27, 2012. It was updated on February 12, 2015.