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I found this sentence on the internet:

Seems like society leveled itself out once again.

What does level out mean here? I have looked up OALD, and it defines level out/off as:

level off/out
1 to stop rising or falling and remain horizontal.
The plane levelled off at 1500 feet.
After the long hill, the road levelled out.
2 to stay at a steady level of development or progress after a period of sharp rises or falls.
Sales have levelled off after a period of rapid growth.

However, I'm not quite sure whether either of them fits the context.

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I couldn't find OALD, but I believe that the online Oxford Dictionary should be close enough. A similar definition for level out/off can be found under verb sense 2.

2 [no object] (level off/out) begin to fly horizontally after climbing or diving:
he quickly levelled off at 1500 ft
- (of a path, road, or incline) cease to slope:
the track levelled out and there below us was the bay
- remain at a steady level after falling or rising:
inflation has levelled out at an acceptable rate

This definition is for level out being used as an intransitive verb (denoted by [no object]), which is quite different from your quoted sentence:

"Seems like society leveled itself out once again."

where sense 1 (give a flat and even surface to) and sense 3 (make [something, especially a score in sport] equal or similar) are more relevant.

Thus, the phrase society leveled itself out should not be understood as the society has changed its direction to continue at a steady level. (It might be possible if it were about the future direction of economy.) In this context, it just means: everyone has an equal chance.

  • You can find the cited definition in the OALD here. – snailcar Dec 20 '13 at 21:06
  • @snailboat Thanks. I'm curious, how many dictionaries does Oxford have online? – Damkerng T. Dec 20 '13 at 21:07
  • A bunch! The OED, too, if you have a subscription. – snailcar Dec 20 '13 at 21:08
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(To)Level out stands for work on an area to make it even, smooth and free of indents, dents or dings. Figuratively, if some person or group levels out, it comes ahead of its shortcomings, no more ups and downs, and it can have a smooth riding future.

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