Rise, arise, ascend, mount, soar, tower, rocket, levitate, surge are comparable when they mean to move or come up from a lower to a higher level.
Rise is the comprehensive term interchangeable with all the others, but often at a sacrifice of explicitness or picturesqueness. Rise is idiomatic, and therefore the preferred word, when used: (1) in reference to persons or sometimes animals that get up from a recumbent position (as in bed or after a fall) or from a sitting or kneeling position or (2) in reference to things that give the impression of coming up into view or to an object that seems to lift itself up or (3) in reference to fluid (as water) under the influence of some natural force that sends it upward or to any natural phenomenon indicated by such rising of water or other fluid.
The word may be used more widely than these instances indicate, but in these and in closely related extensions and metaphoric applications rise is specifically necessary.
Arise (see also SPRING ) is narrower in its range of application than rise and in most uses is felt to be rhetorical or poetic excepting perhaps the senses of to get up in the morning after a night’s sleep or to rise from the grave.
Ascend and mount (see also ASCEND 2 ) carry a stronger suggestion of continuous or progressive upward movement and of climbing than rise and may therefore be used in distinction from the latter word; thus, the sun rises at dawn, but it ascends from dawn to noon; smoke rises from a fire and ascends to the treetops; a lark rises from the ground and mounts to the skies; a scientist’s hopes rise at the first indication of his success and mount as one experiment after another turns out as expected.
Soar even in metaphoric use suggests the straight upward flight of a bird that mounts on rising currents without flapping of wings; it therefore usually connotes continuous, often swift, ascent into high altitudes especially intellectually, spiritually, or aesthetically.
Tower is used more often in reference to things that attain conspicuous height through growth or thrusting upward, or building than in reference to things that actually move upward; it also frequently connotes extension to a height beyond that of such comparable neighboring objects as buildings, trees, mountains, or, when eminence is suggested, persons.
When the word does imply movement upward, it usually evokes a picture of something shooting up so as to suggest a tower or steeple.
Rocket suggests the inordinately swift ascent of a projectile; it is used chiefly with reference to things that rise with extraordinary rapidity or wildly and uncontrollably (as under the impetus of events).
Levitate implies a rising or floating in or as if in air that suggests the intervention of antigravity; the term connotes actual or induced lightness or buoyancy and ease of movement.
The word is sometimes specifically associated with supranormal and especially spiritualistic practices and with illusory risings.
Surge suggests the upward heaving or spurting of waves. It is used often with up, in reference to emotions and thoughts that rise powerfully from the depths of subconsciousness.
Quite as often, usually with an adverb of direction, it suggests a rolling movement comparable to that of oncoming waves.