dead·​weight | \ ˈded-ˈwāt How to pronounce deadweight (audio) \

Definition of deadweight

1 : the unrelieved weight of an inert mass
2 : dead load
3 : a ship's load including the total weight of cargo, fuel, stores, crew, and passengers

Examples of deadweight in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But there’s no deadweight to speak of, and the first five episodes give all of the main ensemble their chance to shine. Zack Handlen, Variety, 2 May 2022 Swiveling his propellers sideways, Johnson uses the tug as a deadweight to act as an anchor to slow the Marjorie C. Los Angeles Times, 23 Dec. 2021 Getting Gil's literal deadweight into place must've taken some serious muscles, or at least serious physics. Sara Netzley,, 15 Oct. 2021 About 60 percent of the deadweight tonnage moved to front lines is gasoline and oil. Popular Mechanics, 6 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deadweight.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of deadweight

1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About deadweight

Time Traveler for deadweight

Time Traveler

The first known use of deadweight was in 1659

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near deadweight

dead water


deadweight capacity

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for deadweight

Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Deadweight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on deadweight

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deadweight Encyclopedia article about deadweight


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!