Level to the Ground: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
September 8, 2023

The idiom "level to the ground" means obliterating something or reducing it to nothing. It is often used to describe buildings, structures, or cities demolished by natural disasters, wars, or other causes. It can also be used figuratively to express the idea of ruining someone's reputation, career, or life.

In short:

  • It means to destroy something completely.
  • It can be used symbolically to express the idea of ruining someone's life.

What Does "Level to the Ground" Mean?

The idiom "level to the ground" has a literal and symbolic meaning:

  • The literal meaning of "level to the ground" is to make something flat or even with the ground. This usually implies that something was standing or elevated before, but now it is not. It is often used to describe the effects of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, etc.
  • The symbolic meaning of "level to the ground" is to ruin something entirely or reduce it to nothing. This usually implies that something was prosperous, but now it is not. It is often used to express the idea of destroying someone's reputation, career, or life. This can happen because of scandals, controversies, mistakes, failures, betrayals, etc.

Where Does "Level to the Ground" Come From?

The origin of the idiom "level to the ground" can be traced back to ancient times. The word "level" comes from the Latin word "libella," which means "a balance or a level." While the word "ground" comes from the Old English word "grund", which means "the bottom of anything". It refers to the surface of the Earth or land. The combination of both words paved the way for the development of the idiom, and through the years, the phrase developed a symbolic meaning.

10 Examples of "Level to the Ground" in Sentences

Here are examples of how to use this idiom in sentences:

  • Holy cow! The tornado was so strong that it leveled the barn to the ground.
  • Oh my gosh! The rebels leveled the palace to the ground and declared their independence.
  • What are the odds? The company was leveled to the ground by bad decisions and scandals.
  • The earthquake and tsunami leveled the coastal town to the ground. That sucks.
  • The critics and some scrubs leveled his new book to the ground and gave it harsh reviews.
  • The factory exploded and leveled the nearby buildings to the ground. I have no words for the incident.
  • The hacker leveled her online reputation to the ground by hacking up and leaking her personal information.
  • It is what it is. The flood leveled the crops to the ground and caused a famine.
  • Oh, snap. The rival gang leveled his drug empire to the ground and took over his territory.
  • What goes around comes around. The cheating scandal leveled her marriage to the ground and led to a divorce.

Examples of "Level to the Ground" in Pop Culture

Here are some examples of how this idiom has been used in various forms of pop culture:

  • In the movie Independence Day (1996), aliens invade Earth and use powerful beams to destroy major cities. One of the characters says: "They're moving from city to city, erasing everything in their path. They're like locusts. They're leveling everything to the ground."
  • In the TV show Game of Thrones (2011-2019), Daenerys Targaryen attacks King's Landing with her dragon Drogon and burns most of the city. One of the characters says: "She burned them all. She burned everything. Nothing matters now. She leveled King's Landing to the ground."

Other Ways to Say "Level to the Ground"

Here are some synonyms that have similar meanings to the idiom:

  • Flatten
  • Demolish
  • Wipe out
  • Obliterate
  • Decimate
  • Annihilate

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Level to the Ground"

Here are frequently asked questions about this idiom and their answers:

  • What does "level to the ground" mean?

The idiom "level to the ground" means obliterating something or reducing it to nothing. It is often used to describe buildings, structures, or cities demolished by natural disasters, wars, or other causes. It can also be used figuratively to express the idea of ruining someone's reputation, career, or life.

  • What is the origin of the phrase "level to the ground"?

The origin of the idiom "level to the ground" can be traced back to ancient times. The word "level" comes from the Latin word "libella," which means "a balance or a level." While the word "ground" comes from the Old English word "grund", which means "the bottom of anything".

  • What is a synonym of "level to the ground" that starts with R?

A synonym of "level to the ground" that starts with R is raze (to) (the) [ground]. It means to wreck something by tearing it down or burning it.

  • What is the difference between "level to the ground" and "level with the ground"?

There is no significant difference between these two phrases. They both mean to make something flat or even with the earth's surface. However, some people may prefer "level with the ground" when talking about something already on the ground, such as a road or a field.

  • What is another way to say "level to the ground" positively?

Most of the time, "level to the ground" negatively implies destruction, ruin, or loss. However, there may be some situations where "level to the ground" can be used positively, such as when discussing clearing an area for a new construction, renovation, or improvement.

  • What is an antonym of "level to the ground"?

An antonym of "level to the ground" is a word or phrase that means the opposite of eradicating something or reducing it to nothing. Some possible antonyms are build-up, restore, and enhance.

  • Is the idiom "level to the ground" formal or informal?

The idiom "level to the ground" is neither formal nor informal but relatively neutral. It can be used in both formal and informal contexts, depending on the tone and style of the speaker or writer.

  • Is the phrase "level to the ground" literal or figurative?

The idiom "level to the ground" can be literal and figurative, depending on the context and meaning. It can describe a physical action of leveling something to the ground, such as a building or a city. It can also be used figuratively to describe a symbolic action of balancing something with the environment, such as a dream or a reputation.

  • What are some words similar to "level to the ground"?

Some examples of idioms similar to "level to the ground" are "bring down with a crash," "knock something down," and "tear something down."

  • How do you translate the expression "level to the ground" into other languages?

Spanish: arrasar con algo; reducir algo a escombros
French: raser quelque chose; réduire quelque chose en cendres
German: etwas dem Erdboden gleichmachen; etwas in Schutt und Asche legen

Final Thoughts About "Level to the Ground"

The idiom "level to the ground" is a common and versatile expression used in various contexts and situations.

In summary:

  • It can mean annihilating something or reducing it to nothing.
  • It can also mean to ruin someone's reputation, career, or life.
  • It can mean to make something flat or even with the earth's surface.
  • It can have a negative or positive connotation, depending on the context.

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