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Levee vs. Levy

Following the pronunciation guidelines in English, it’s reasonably clear that “levee” and “levy” sound the same. Still, taking a closer look, you’ll notice that the two words aren’t spelled the same, and this immediately brings up a question in regard to the meanings of each word. Are they synonyms? Are they connected in any way? Or do they have completely different meanings and hence should be used only in their own appropriate contexts in order to be understood.This is exactly what we’re discussing in this article. Read everything you need to know about “levee” and “levy” to make sure you’ll always understand and use these two words correctly.

1:28 min read
  Charlotte B  —  Grammar Tips
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Levee vs. Levy

So, “levee” and “levy” sound very similar – we’ve already confirmed that. But apart from this similarity and their vaguely similar spelling, there’s nothing else that connects these two words. Their definitions are completely unrelated.

While “levee” is only ever used as a noun, “levy” only appears defined in reputable dictionaries as a verb. So, from the way they are used in sentence, verb or noun, you already have a great clue indicating which word people are referring to. And now, so you know exactly what they’re talking about, read the in-detail explanations and examples below to see what each of these words actually mean.

When do we use “levee”?

Defined as a noun only, a “levee” is an embankment, built to prevent inundation, or a dike that limits irrigation on inundated land.

Example: They build a levee across the river to make sure inundations were prevented. – “levee” is an embankment that helps prevent inundation.

When do we use “levy”?

Levee vs. Levy

On the other hand, “levy” is only ever used as a verb, reflecting the action of demanding money, usually in an official or formal context. It usually refers to imposing taxes, collecting money or confiscating property.

Example: They will levy a new tax on consumers of luxury goods. – “levy” defines the action of officially demanding money.


The pair of words “levee vs. levy” is a great example of homophones, which means they sound the same even though they have different spellings. Hence, we are talking about two different words with completely different meanings and functions.

It’s essential to keep in mind that “levee” is only ever a noun, defining an embankment that prevents inundation, whereas “levy” is only ever a verb, with the meaning of officially demanding money.

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