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verb \ˈhēv\

Simple Definition of heave

  • : to lift or pull (something) with effort

  • : to throw (something) with effort

  • : to breathe in and breathe out (a sigh) in a slow or loud way

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of heave

heaved or hove play \ˈhōv\ heaving

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 obsolete :  elevate

  3. 2 :  lift, raise <heaved the trunk onto the table>

  4. 3 :  throw, cast <heaving rocks>

  5. 4 a :  to cause to swell or rise b :  to displace (as a rock stratum) especially by a fault

  6. 5 :  to utter with obvious effort or with a deep breath <heave a sigh of relief>

  7. 6 :  haul, draw

  8. intransitive verb
  9. 1 :  labor, struggle

  10. 2 :  retch

  11. 3 a :  to rise and fall rhythmically b :  pant

  12. 4 a :  pull, push <heaving on a rope> b :  to move a ship in a specified direction or manner c past usually hove :  to move in an indicated way <the ship hove into view>

  13. 5 :  to rise or become thrown or raised up

heaver noun
heave to
  1. :  to halt the headway of a ship (as by positioning a sailboat with the jib aback and the rudder turned sharply to windward)

Examples of heave in a sentence

  1. She heaved the door shut.

  2. The quarterback heaved the ball down the field.

  3. She sat down and heaved a sigh of relief.

Origin of heave

Middle English heven, from Old English hebban; akin to Old High German hevan to lift, Latin capere to take

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of heave

lift, raise, rear, elevate, hoist, heave, boost mean to move from a lower to a higher place or position. lift usually implies exerting effort to overcome resistance of weight <lift the chair while I vacuum>. raise carries a stronger implication of bringing up to the vertical or to a high position <scouts raising a flagpole>. rear may add an element of suddenness to raise <suddenly reared itself up on its hind legs>. elevate may replace lift or raise especially when exalting or enhancing is implied <elevated the taste of the public>. hoist implies lifting something heavy especially by mechanical means <hoisted the cargo on board>. heave implies lifting and throwing with great effort or strain <heaved the heavy crate inside>. boost suggests assisting to climb or advance by a push <boosted his brother over the fence>.




Simple Definition of heave

  • : an act of lifting or pulling something with effort

  • : a forceful throw

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of heave

  1. 1 a :  an effort to heave or raise b :  hurl, cast

  2. 2 :  an upward motion :  rising; especially :  a rhythmical rising

  3. 3 :  horizontal displacement especially by the faulting of a rock

  4. 4 plural but sing or plural in constr :  chronic pulmonary emphysema of the horse resulting in difficult expiration, heaving of the flanks, and a persistent cough

Examples of heave in a sentence

  1. We lifted the box onto the table with a heave.

  2. He gave the rope a mighty heave.

  3. The quarterback uncorked a mighty heave.

Circa 1571

First Known Use of heave

circa 1571

HEAVE Defined for Kids



verb \ˈhēv\

Definition of heave for Students

heaved or hove \ˈhōv\heaving

  1. 1 :  to raise with an effort <Help me heave this box onto the truck.>

  2. 2 :  hurl, throw <He heaved rocks into the water.>

  3. 3 :  to utter with an effort <She heaved a sigh of relief.>

  4. 4 :  to rise and fall again and again <The runner's chest was heaving.>

  5. 5 :  to be thrown or raised up <Frost caused the ground to heave.>




Definition of heave for Students

  1. 1 :  an effort to lift or raise <With a final heave they jammed him into the crate. — E. B. White, Charlotte's Web>

  2. 2 :  a forceful throw

  3. 3 :  an upward motion (as of the chest in breathing or of waves in motion)

Medical Dictionary


verb \ˈhēv\

Medical Definition of heave

heaved; heaving

  1. transitive verb

  2. :  vomit <got carsick and heaved his lunch>

  3. intransitive verb

  4. :  to undergo retching or vomiting

Seen and Heard

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