levy war

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Thomas1

Senior Member
polszczyzna warszawska
Hi,

I have a few quesitons about this phrase:
Is it used in modern English?
Can it be used with the indefinite article: levy a war?
Is it synonumous with wage a war?

Tom
 
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    It was usually "levy war", e.g. "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them" (US Constitution). The online Compact OED marks this usage archaic. I would describe it as a historical term. There is a sense in "levy" of commencing to wage war, rather than to continue to wage war.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Thanks, MM for your response. I have found it in the Declararion of Independence ([...]and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war[...]).


    AS for a synonym how about declare a war then, would it be closer in meaning?

    Tom
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I agree with gasman, to declare war is to make a formal statement that your state is, from that moment on, at war with another. You can wage war without declaring it, and I think that is implied in my example from the US Constitution.

    Here is a great example from the OED which makes this clear that war is levied without being declared:

    "The Syrian King [...] Assassin-like had levied Warr, Warr unproclam'd."
     
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