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"Developers like Google, Airbus and Huawei are racing to leverage these materials and others into transistors that could make conventional microchips obsolete and deliver "quantum computing" -- massive new levels processing power with far less energy consumption."

I looked up the leverage in the dictionary which gives

  1. (formal) the ability to influence what people do.
  2. (technical) the act of using a ↑lever to open or lift sth; the force used to do this.
  3. (finance) the relationship between the amount of money that a company owes and the value of its shares

I think all the explanations do not fit the meaning of the sentence here. What is the exact meaning and how to use this word?

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  • The use of a noun as a verb is not unusual but in this case the development from lever (noun and verb) to leverage (noun) to leverage (verb that was not really needed to replace the verb lever) has produced a horrible new verb that seems to have come from pretentious business jargon. It is used in the sense of applying a method successful in one area of activity to another area. For example - we leverage our ice-cream expertise into yoghurt manufacture.
    – Anton
    May 16, 2020 at 7:46
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    In the same way that a lever gives a "mechanical advantage", leverage indicates taking advantage of something.
    – Greybeard
    May 16, 2020 at 10:01
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    Hello, y ing. The string 'are racing to leverage [these materials]' (compare 'are racing to develop [a vaccine]', with a word more recognisable as a verb) indicates that this usage is that of a verb. Our sister site, ELL, is intended for questions involving the understanding of concepts like this. May 16, 2020 at 13:56
  • Thank you so much for your answers! I think I got it :-)
    – y ing
    May 17, 2020 at 6:33

1 Answer 1

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It is a figurative usage of leverage that suggests the improvement of something:

To leverage:

  1. To improve or enhance: "It makes more sense to be able to leverage what we [public radio stations] do in a more effective way to our listeners" (Delano Lewis).

(AHD)

The sense is that the developers are racing to improve, make more effective, these materials that could outperform conventional microchips.

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  • Oh, I see. Thanks!
    – y ing
    May 16, 2020 at 6:04

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