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I'm reading a book and see this "Level!" command/order issued in the context of a fire team. Usually when they've just finished firing their weapons or are about to start shooting. So I think it's not just in the same meaning as in "he leveled the pistol at us".

It's been very frustrating to try and find a definite meaning of this command. I've unsuccessfully tried these search terms:

  • Military slang level
  • Military phrase level
  • Military command level

Can you please help me find the definition of "level" in military context?

Update. Here is the quote with a bit of context from the book

Delvecchio went to full auto and the other two soldiers began shooting.

“Level!” shouted the machine gunner.>

It was amazing. It was awesome. Their muzzles flared gold and white, and bullets hailed down upon the demons, tearing them apart, rank after rank. But more kept flowing into the warehouse.

Serenity waited. She had a thousand rounds, but that would go fast, and she didn’t want to run out of the warehouse without ammo.

James kept walking.

More and more of the demons ignored him now to just charge at them, leaping and springing forward like an avalanche of horrific fleas.

“Level!” shouted Mancini.

Huffman was still at the rear door, keeping vigil, but her expression was so pained at missing out [...]

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    It sounds strange to me too. Can you give us more of the context where you saw it? The name of the book, maybe the whole paragraph where you see the word, etc.
    – stangdon
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 15:07
  • From what little you provide it sounds like it is "Level [your] weapons". Would make much more sense in a muzzle-loading era where a weapon can't be loaded without taking it vastly off target, but such settings generally don't have 'fire teams'. Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 15:20
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    Yes, we really need the context here. This isn't part of the standard native speaker's active understanding, but with context the meaning may become clear. My best guess is that it is the command to aim the weapon at the target.
    – James K
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 17:13
  • Sorry for not adding a quote from the start. Amended the question body with a paragraph and linked it to the chapter it's from.
    – bizzz
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 19:35

1 Answer 1

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Having read more of the novel, I think my first answer was wrong. It's preserved below.

The actual answer isn't obvious except within the fantasy world of the novel.

The setting of the novel is within a roleplaying game. The characters are aware of various mechanics of the game, such as their "rank/level" or the number of "unspent points". They have a sheet with all their statistics.

A character might call out "level" to mean "I have just moved up a level in the game".


To "level" is to aim (a gun, or metaphorically) at something. The order here could easily mean "aim and fire your weapon". The organisation is similar to how a unit of musketeers would work, firing together.

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  • There's another usage here right after a hero finished shooting. Can you guess about a secondary meaning? Screaming "Aim!" after a foe is down seems strange
    – bizzz
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 8:09
  • I think that is part of the RPG that forms the setting of the novel. Serenity is saying "I've moved up a level" compare with, in the next few lines "“Got myself an Aeviternum when I hit Level 9 back at the warehouse,"
    – James K
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 8:18
  • My god, looks like you are right! It explains everything. I was expecting it to be some military lingo and failed to account for the RPG setting
    – bizzz
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 9:18
  • This book sounds really dire. Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 12:53

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