dead·​weight ˈded-ˈwāt How to pronounce deadweight (audio)
: the unrelieved weight of an inert mass
: 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 With 12 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, a sack and two quarterback hurries, Asante played hero ball Saturday night as Auburn leaned on its defense with deadweight as the Tigers’ offense sputtered. Ainslie Lee |, al, 12 Sep. 2023 To put the challenge in perspective, less than 2% of U.S. seaborne trade moves on ships with those characteristics, and the size of the U.S.-flag fleet (as measured in deadweight tonnage) has declined by a third since 2000. Loren Thompson, Forbes, 18 Apr. 2023 Well, at least the Reds wouldn’t be hamstrung with an astronomical, deadweight contract for long. Jason Williams, The Enquirer, 20 Apr. 2023 About 60 percent of the deadweight tonnage moved to front lines is gasoline and oil. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 6 June 2021 The interest rate increases so far, including Tuesday’s move, will add over A$900 a month in repayments to the average A$500,000 mortgage, according to RateCity, a deadweight for a population that holds A$2 trillion ($1.3 trillion) in home loans. Reuters, CNN, 7 Feb. 2023 What had seemed like a boon to our usecase ended up as a deadweight on our prospects – if investing all this money on autonomy only enabled us to clamor to fight for similar top line as incumbents, why even work on autonomy? Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, Forbes, 24 Jan. 2023 One explanation for the deadweight loss is a mismatch between desirability and feasibility. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 22 Dec. 2022 Employers should dump the deadweight and set an example for employees who will readjust to be more productive members of society. WSJ, 4 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deadweight.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deadweight was in 1659

Dictionary Entries Near deadweight

Cite this Entry

“Deadweight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


dead·​weight ˈded-ˈwāt How to pronounce deadweight (audio)
: the full weight of a mass that is not moving

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