From etymonline, in "oblivion", "ob-" means "over, and "levis" means "smooth", so how does the word have the meaning of "lacking conscious awareness, not informed about, not aware of something"?

Also does "levis" relate to "levi" which means light, and raise, e.g. elevate, levity?

closed as off-topic by Janus Bahs Jacquet, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Kristina Lopez, RyeɃreḁd, Kris Oct 23 '13 at 5:35

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    Not sure what your real question is here. You've already looked on etymonline where it says the original meaning was to smooth over or even out (as in ‘obliterate’). A mental smoothing out is not that hard to imagine as a euphemism (or just paraphrasing, really) of forgetting something. The levis that means ‘smooth’ is related to the word ‘slime’; it is not the same as the levis that means ‘light’—this is, unsurprisingly, related to the word ‘light’ (and lever, elevate, levitate, etc.). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 22 '13 at 18:42

It's from Latin oblivio, meaning 'forgetfulness'.

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    That doesn't really answer the question very thoroughly—that's only the first direct step, not the actual etymology of the word. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 22 '13 at 18:38
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    OK. It’s from Anglo-Norman and Middle French ‘oblivion’ meaning ‘forgetfulness’ and its etymon classical Latin ‘oblivio’ . That in turn is from the verb stem found in ‘oblivisci ‘, to forget. ‘Oblīviscī in turn is from ‘ob’ + an extended form of an Indo-European base. There is probably a connection with Latin ‘levis’, Greek λεῖος, meaning, as OP surmised, ‘smooth’. – Barrie England Oct 22 '13 at 18:55
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    Etymonline derives it from levis, suggesting an incised stone or wax tablet which has been erased by smoothing. OED and Short derive it from liv-, meaning "dark", as in livid--thus, a "darkened" memory. – StoneyB Oct 22 '13 at 19:18
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    Actually it's from Latin liveo, lividus 'be of a leaden color; blue'. Obliviscor (the deponent inchoative form of ob + liveo) means 'to come to have the mind darkened, to forget'. – John Lawler Oct 22 '13 at 19:22
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    Lewis and Short trace 'obliviscor' to ‘livere’, ‘to become dark, hence, to have the mind darkened, forget’, which chimes with John’s account. – Barrie England Oct 22 '13 at 19:31

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