Lift, being one of those verbs like "run," has quite a few definitions. The most common (as webster 1913 points out) is the actual process of lifting something up. There are more interesting definitions, however.

In aviation terms, lift is the primary force that results in flight. It is generated by the wings of the aircraft, which is in turn caused by Bernoulli's principle (which dictates the theory of flight). Lift's arch-nemesis and opposite is known as weight. If the lift of the aircraft is greater than the weight, the aircraft flies (generally speaking).

The Urban Dictionary ( states:
To steal; see also: Gank.

Example of usage:
P1: Man, I want this but I only have a buck.
P2: Lift it!
To agree with them, the American Underworld Dictionary (1950) also states:
1. Pocket picking. 2. Truck robbery, usually of petty consumers' goods; hijacking. 3. Shoplifting. 4. Armed robbery. 5. A pickpocket. 6. A truck robber or hijacker. 7. A shoplifter.
"Lift" is also the name of a song by Radiohead, a song that was not released on any of their albums but can be found online (they occasionally perform it at concerts). I will quote a brief excerpt:
This is the place
Sit down, you're safe now
You've been stuck in a lift
We've been trying to reach you, Thom

This is the place
It won't hurt, it will not hurt

A smell of recognition
A face you barely loved
Empty all your pockets
Cos it's time to go home

Sources: Thanks to pukesick for the American Underworld Dictionary reference.

Lift (?), n.[AS.lyft air. See Loft.]

The sky; the atmosphere; the firmament.

[Obs. or Scot.]


© Webster 1913.

Lift (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Lifted; p. pr. & vb. n. Lifting.] [Icel. lypta, fr. lopt air; akin to Sw.lyfta to lift, Dan. lofte, G. luften; -- prop., to raise into the air. See Loft, and cf. 1st Lift.]


To move in a direction opposite to that of gravitation; to raise; to elevate; to bring up from a lower place to a higher; to upheave; sometimes implying a continued support or holding in the higher place; -- said of material things; as, to lift the foot or the hand; to lift a chair or a burden.


To raise, elevate, exalt, improve, in rank, condition, estimation, character, etc.; -- often with up.

The Roman virtues lift up mortal man. Addison.

Lest, being lifted up with pride. I Tim. iii. 6.


To bear; to support.




To collect, as moneys due; to raise.

5. [Perh. a different word, and akin to Goth. hliftus thief, hlifan to steal, L. clepere, Gr. . Cf. Shoplifter.]

To steal; to carry off by theft (esp. cattle); as, to lift a drove of cattle.

⇒ In old writers, lift is sometimes used for lifted.

He ne'er lift up his hand but conquered. Shak.

To lift up, to raise or elevate; in the Scriptures, specifically, to elevate upon the cross. John viii. 28. -- To lift up the eyes. To look up; to raise the eyes, as in prayer. Ps. cxxi. 1. -- To lift up the feet, to come speedily to one's relief. Ps. lxxiv. 3. -- To lift up the hand. (a) To take an oath. Gen. xiv. 22. (b) To pray. Ps. xxviii. 2. (c) To engage in duty. Heb. xii. 12. -- To lift up the hand against, to rebel against; to assault; to attack; to injure; to oppress. Job xxxi. 21. -- To lift up one's head, to cause one to be exalted or to rejoice. Gen. xl. 13. Luke xxi. 28. -- To lift up the heel against, to treat with insolence or unkindness. John xiii.18. -- To lift up the voice, to cry aloud; to call out. Gen. xxi. 16.


© Webster 1913.

Lift (?), v. i.


To try to raise something; to exert the strength for raising or bearing.

Strained by lifting at a weight too heavy. Locke.


To rise; to become or appear raised or elevated; as, the fog lifts; the land lifts to a ship approaching it.

3. [See Lift, v. t., 5.]

To live by theft.



© Webster 1913.

Lift, n.


Act of lifting; also, that which is lifted.


The space or distance through which anything is lifted; as, a long lift.



Help; assistance, as by lifting; as, to give one a lift in a wagon.


The goat gives the fox a lift. L'Estrange.

<-- 3b. a ride in a vehicle, given by the vehicle's owner to another person as a favor -- usually in "give a lift" or "got a lift", as "Jack gave me a lift into town." -->


That by means of which a person or thing lifts or is lifted

; as: (a)

A hoisting machine; an elevator; a dumb waiter

. (b)

An exercising machine.


A rise; a degree of elevation; as, the lift of a lock in canals.


A lift gate. See Lift gate, below.

[Prov. Eng.]

7. Naut.

A rope leading from the masthead to the extremity of a yard below; -- used for raising or supporting the end of the yard.

8. Mach.

One of the steps of a cone pulley.

9. Shoemaking

A layer of leather in the heel.

10. Horology

That portion of the vibration of a balance during which the impulse is given.


Dead lift. See under Dead. Swift. -- Lift bridge, a kind of drawbridge, the movable part of which is lifted, instead of being drawn aside. -- Lift gate, a gate that is opened by lifting. -- Lift hammer. See Tilt hammer. -- Lift lock, a canal lock. -- Lift pump, a lifting pump. -- Lift tenter Windmills, a governor for regulating the speed by adjusting the sails, or for adjusting the action of grinding machinery according to the speed. -- Lift wall Canal Lock, the cross wall at the head of the lock.


© Webster 1913.

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