\ˈhēv \
heaved or hove\ˈhōv \; heaving

Definition of heave 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 obsolete : elevate

2 : lift, raise heaved the trunk onto the table

3 : throw, cast heaved her books on the floor

4a : to cause to swell or rise a spent horse gasping and heaving his chest Frost had heaved the sidewalk.

b geology : to displace (something, such as a rock stratum or a mineral vein) especially by a fault

5 : to utter with obvious effort or with a deep breath heave a sigh of relief

6 : to draw, pull, or haul on (something, such as a rope) heave a line

intransitive verb

1 : to strain or labor to do something difficult : struggle

2 : retch, vomit nearly heaved at the gruesome sight

3a : to rise and fall rhythmically The boat heaved up and down on the waves.

b : pant runners heaving at the finish line

4a : pull, push heaving on a rope

b : to move a ship in a specified direction or manner

c past tense usually hove : to move in an indicated way the ship hove into view

5 : to rise or become thrown or raised up Roads had begun to heave with frost.

heave to

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



Definition of heave (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an effort to pull or raise something with each heave of the rope

b : an act or instance of throwing : hurl gave the ball a heave toward the basket

2 : an upward motion : rising especially : a rhythmical rising the heave of his chest

3 geology : horizontal displacement especially by the faulting of a rock the total heave of the strata

4 heaves plural in form but singular or plural in construction, veterinary medicine : chronic pulmonary emphysema of the horse resulting in difficult expiration, heaving of the flanks, and a persistent cough

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Other Words from heave


heaver noun

Synonyms for heave

Synonyms: Verb

boost, heft, hoist, jack (up), upheave

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of heave in a Sentence


She heaved the door shut. The quarterback heaved the ball down the field. She sat down and heaved a sigh of relief.


We lifted the box onto the table with a heave. He gave the rope a mighty heave. The quarterback uncorked a mighty heave.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There were plenty of fishnets and light-up headbands and heaving cleavage. Georgia Clark, Marie Claire, "8 Surprising Lessons I Learned From a Sex Party," 12 Sep. 2018 On the final play, he was forced to heave a desperation three off of a full-court inbound play. Sarah Todd, Philly.com, "Marco Belinelli's buzzer beater couldn't make up for the Sixers' mistakes," 6 May 2018 Campbell’s only option after a time out was senior Tanner Clos heaving one from midcourt. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "Campbell County boys basketball falls on late 3-pointer," 16 Mar. 2018 Younous’s chest heaved slightly and then was still. Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, "A Yemeni toddler fought for his life in a hospital while adults battled each other," 25 June 2018 The almost-milestone, relayed to Reuters by workers at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif. factory but not confirmed by the company, is probably still enough for Tesla supporters and investors to heave a massive sigh of relief. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Tesla Seems to Have Finally Hit Its Goal of Producing 5,000 Model 3s in a Week," 1 July 2018 Digging in the dirt and heaving equipment in blistering heat produces aching backs and raw hands. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, "With Jobs to Fill, Businesses Play the Visa Lottery," 27 June 2018 Sporting were left to heave the ball forward in the dwindling minutes, but Atleti held on to their 2-1 aggregate lead to advance to the next stage. SI.com, "Atletico Madrid Advances to Europa League Semifinals Despite 2nd Leg Loss," 12 Apr. 2018 Two waves of heaving flooding Wednesday evening and Thursday morning forced 200 tourists to evacuate. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Arizona floods force hundreds of tourists to evacuate, reschedule trip to famous tribal land," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Mahomes has dazzled with heaves uncommon in the modern NFL, which has increasingly shifted toward favoring high-probability short passes over riskier and longer ones. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Patrick Mahomes Is Conquering the NFL," 16 Sep. 2018 Peters, an Evanston freshman who became known nationally overnight, earned a spot in the SportsCenter Top 10 after his last-second heave delivered the Wildkits an electrifying victory from the jaws of defeat Jan. 26 against the Hawks. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Evanston to the ESPYs? Blake Peters faces Stefon Diggs in 'best play' vote," 1 July 2018 Waukesha North’s Will McDonald capped off an excellent multi-sport year, winning the discus with a heave of 179 feet, 9 inches. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here are the teams and athletes from Milwaukee area who won state titles in 2017-18," 20 June 2018 Junior Stamatia Scarvelis won the women's hammer for the Lady Vols with her final throw, a heave of 66.19 meters (217 feet, 2 inches), 2 inches better than Janeah Stewart of Ole Miss. Erin Perkins of Auburn was third. Joe Fleming, USA TODAY, "SEC track and field championships: Tennessee's Stamatia Scarvelis wins the women's hammer," 11 May 2018 In that game, Duke won its fourth NCAA title 61–59 over Butler as Gordon Hayward's half-court heave bounced off the rim at the buzzer. Scooby Axson, SI.com, "Villanova Opens As Big Favorites For NCAA Title," 1 Apr. 2018 Ayrault made the second and then a desperation heave from Dakota missed as time expired to send North into a delirious celebration. Keith Dunlap, Detroit Free Press, "Grosse Pointe North defeats rival Macomb Dakota in regional semifinal," 6 Mar. 2018 Indiana, which lost to the Spartans 85-57 earlier this season, had a chance to force overtime, but Devonte Green's 70-foot heave bounced high off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded. USA TODAY, "Smothering defense leads No. 2 Virginia past Syracuse," 3 Feb. 2018 Making the story even better, the player who sunk the heave missed two free throws with under four seconds remaining to put his team in that position. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "WATCH: Ardsley High School Wins Championship On 3/4 Court Buzzer," 3 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of heave


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


circa 1571, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for heave


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


see heave entry 1

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Statistics for heave

Last Updated

21 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for heave

The first known use of heave was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for heave



English Language Learners Definition of heave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of heave (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of lifting or pulling something with effort

: a forceful throw


\ˈhēv \
heaved or hove\ˈhōv \; heaving

Kids Definition of heave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

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

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

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

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



Kids Definition of heave (Entry 2 of 2)

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

2 : a forceful throw

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


\ˈhēv \
heaved; heaving

Medical Definition of heave 

transitive verb

: vomit got carsick and heaved his lunch

intransitive verb

: to undergo retching or vomiting

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More from Merriam-Webster on heave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heave

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heave

Spanish Central: Translation of heave

Nglish: Translation of heave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heave for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heave

Comments on heave

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a nest or breeding place

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