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
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    Not to be confused with raising a hurdle. – Peter Shor Feb 23 '12 at 12:07
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    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
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    It goes with "under", as in "under a ban"; you "lift" it to remove this burden. – Monica Cellio Feb 23 '12 at 15:25
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    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

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.


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.


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.

protected by Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 1 '15 at 19:15

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