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CC-CEDICT: 杠杆 (gàng​gǎn​): lever / pry bar / crowbar / financial leverage

In English there are two types of lever, one which pivots via a fulcrum and is used for raising objects...

Image of bearded man raising sphere via the use of a lever
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

...and another which operates some kind of mechanism, such as in a hilarious scene from The Emperor's New Groove:

"Pull the lever Kronk... wrong leveeeeeer!"  "Why do we even have that lever?"

I'm not sure if the Chinese 杠杆 can take on this second meaning.

Question: Can 杠杆 ("lever") be used for levers which operate mechanisms?

2 Answers 2

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A lever using leverage to lift an object is called "杠杆" (pry bar)

A lever for operating mechanisms is called "操纵杆" (control stick/operating lever)

A joystick is also a "操纵杆" (for game control)

扳机/ 扳杆 (trigger/ lever) that only move in two directions is what we see in that scene

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I think the second one is more referred to as 把手/手柄 (handle) or 机关/扳机 (trigger). I never hear people call that a 杠杆. 杠杆 only means the first one, which is some mechanism that magnifies force, including abstract ones like in finance.

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  • The most common usage of 把手/手柄 is "door handle" (门把手). Not all door handle can be turned.
    – Tang Ho
    Jan 16 at 1:20
  • @TangHo I am not disagreeing with that. But as I see the picture provided by the OP, if I translate that I would say 拉那个把手。不,不是那个把手!呃。到底是为了什么我们会有那个把手?
    – River
    Jan 16 at 1:25
  • That is why I said "not all", meaning some 把手/手柄 do move and function as operating lever. Some door handles can be turned to open the door lock
    – Tang Ho
    Jan 16 at 1:27

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