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That term was used on a YouTube interview (two hours long!) posted by Other Tink, about the violence at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington on the following question:


I think I kinda know from the context, but 'level up' was used as a metaphor in this very interesting interview...and so I am hoping someone here will know the real meaning, thank you!

3 Answers


In computer games, it means a higher level than previous.

Virginia Kninjanin

Thank you Kninjanin, that helps me very much!


I think that most people would interprete "to level up" with "progressing to a higher level or standard", usually a step upwards through learning, studying, practising, exercising, gaming, challenging, improving one's methods, or defeating an adversary, gaining, collecting or winning points, awards, etc., in one or several specific domains (in this case in computer games - I am no expert in this regard).

It refers also to optimising, improving, increasing, adding, easing, or adapting things, systems, capacities, situations or spiritual considerations in various real life domains and certainly also in fiction.

But after these rather awkward definitions, I checked the Urban Dictionary, and it has indeed some more definitions:

nerds, for instance, use it for "getting laid" in an ironic sense, there's also a definition about "feeling the affects (or effects?) of alcohol intoxication"; oh, they are also mentioning the ingestion of magic mushrooms and a trip, as a clever play-off in the Super-Mario games and, in the end, (citing):

"The first heavy daze of the day achieved through drub/alcohol substance; to level up is to achieve a higher level of consciousness; in reference to hit points, the term is often followed by a sound effect of video gaming nature".


Virginia Marianne

Marianne, what subtle nuancing this term has acquired, very informative thank you!

Marianne Marianne

You're very welcome, Virginia - I had some great smiling moments on my lexical "discovery tour".


Virginia Marianne

Yes Marianne, I can see that...and all the different meanings remind me of Lewis Carroll's ALICE, in her discourse with Humpty Dumpty on his usage of language...

...“Must a name mean something?” Alice asks Humpty Dumpty, only to get this answer: “When use a word… it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

Also, just for fun, here is the British cartoonist John Tenniel's draft of Alice speaking with (I think) Tweedledum and Tweedledee...


Marianne Marianne
Lol, Virginia - excellent - and from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty, the Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat, we can explore the world of tales, myths and legends; not to forget our favourite fairies ...
Virginia Marianne

Marianne, it was great fun to learn more about Lewis Carroll - I read that even his pen name was his play on the language of his real name. His given and middle names were "Charles Ludwig," well, if you reverse those and then render them through their variants in other languages...:)...you can end up with "Lewis Carrol"...!

He loved language truly...

Marianne Marianne

Yes, Virginia, he was indeed using many puns. :)


To progress to the next level of player character stats and abilities, often by acquiring experience points in role-playing games. But this applies to most games also. I usually don't play those kind of games but I know what it means to acquire a higher level of difficulty on certain games.

To make a move in your life or career for the better.
feel stale at this job, its time to level up. 

I heard you got that record deal last week. Way to level up bro.
Urban Dictionary.
Virginia Rooster

This fits the context of what I was reading, and it makes it funny too! Thank you Rooster.