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In all other cases "moving something up" means creating or increasing something, like in "rising concern" or "erecting obstacles". At the same time "lifting a ban" means effectively removing the ban. What is a historical explanation of appearance of such expression? I can only suggest that this came from the lifting a castle's gates which allows passage. Is this true?

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The word "lift" is used similarly in a few other legal phrases, like "lifting an injunction". People occassionally talk of "lifting a burden" from someone, like "Hey, thanks for helping out, that really lifted a burden from me." –  Jay Feb 23 '12 at 6:31
Not to be confused with raising a hurdle. –  Peter Shor Feb 23 '12 at 12:07
Different metaphor. Lifting a ban (or a prohibition) means to move it upwards, thereby relieving pressure, so whatever's underneath can move. Raising a hurdle (or an objection) means to move something into the path of forward movement. So, as Peter points out, it's kind of an opposite. Metaphors are great fun. –  John Lawler Feb 23 '12 at 15:04
It goes with "under", as in "under a ban"; you "lift" it to remove this burden. –  Monica Cellio Feb 23 '12 at 15:25
Lifting is also used in the sense of plagiarizing. "He lifted whole passages verbatim from Wikipedia and used them in his dissertation." –  user47834 Jul 15 '13 at 16:10

3 Answers 3

It's a variation on the theme of lifting a weight off someone/something. You lift the heavy load that was restraining a man and let him move faster.

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At the same time "lifting a ban" means effectively removing the ban.

"removing" is key here: when you lift something, you pull it off of the surface it had been on, i.e. remove it.

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To my opinion, "lifting" is used here to indicate some burden is now lifted from the concerned person or thing and that thing is now free to move. Ban is a kind of burden "put over" some action to freez it. So If you wish to remove it, then you will lift it from the action.

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