\ ˈhēv How to pronounce heave (audio) \
heaved or hove\ ˈhōv How to pronounce heave (audio) \; heaving

Definition of heave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : lift, raise heaved the trunk onto the table
2 : throw, cast heaved her books on the floor
3 : to utter with obvious effort or with a deep breath heave a sigh of relief
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 draw, pull, or haul on (something, such as a rope) heave a line
6 obsolete : elevate

intransitive verb

1a : to rise and fall rhythmically The boat heaved up and down on the waves.
b : pant runners heaving at the finish line
2a : 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
3 : to rise or become thrown or raised up Roads had begun to heave with frost.
4 : retch, vomit nearly heaved at the gruesome sight
5 : to strain or labor to do something difficult : struggle
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

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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

Verb She heaved the door shut. The quarterback heaved the ball down the field. She sat down and heaved a sigh of relief. Noun 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 The winter cycle of freezing and thawing that splits concrete and creates potholes can also cause the soil in a garden to crack and heave, wrenching up roots. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Frozen soil is fine for gardens in winter, but mulching is important for another reason," 13 Dec. 2020 Changing rooms are explosions of sweat as panting bankers heave themselves into salopettes. The Economist, "Charlemagne To ski or not to ski?," 5 Dec. 2020 Wentz lofted a Hail Mary into the end zone that was tipped … and snagged by Hail Mary specialist Richard Rogers (yes, the same guy who caught Aaron Rodgers’ desperation heave against the Lions in 2015) with just 12 seconds left in regulation. Michael Rand, Star Tribune, "Much-maligned Carson Wentz costs bettor $500,000 with Hail Mary," 1 Dec. 2020 And when the Vikings got one more chance on offense after the Schultz score, Robinson was once again on the field for Brown, covering Thielen on the fourth-down desperation heave by Cousins that fell incomplete. Dallas News, "Say his name: Unknown Cowboys player has big role in fourth quarter of win over Vikings," 23 Nov. 2020 Curry and Thompson will still heave from long distance. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Opinion: How the Warriors will quickly become an NBA championship contender again," 12 Nov. 2020 The windows stay black and phlegmatic as the air outside begins to heave with rain. Colin Channer, The New Yorker, "Spumante," 9 Nov. 2020 This week, President Trump’s Hail Mary heave in the heartland fell incomplete. J. Brady Mccollough Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Trump’s Big Ten football bet didn’t pay off as key states voted Biden," 7 Nov. 2020 The start of the second OT session saw Johnston heave a prayer to Trea Shropshire, who obliged his quarterback with a catch at the Louisiana Tech 3-yard line. Evan Dudley, al, "Quarter-by-quarter look at UAB’s 37-34 loss to Louisiana Tech," 1 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Atlanta got a desperation heave on the final play of the game, but the Saints batted it down. Paul Newberry, Star Tribune, "Hill throws 2 TD passes, Saints hold off Falcons 21-16," 6 Dec. 2020 Denver had the ball with a chance to win the game in the final minute, but Drew Lock’s desperation heave was intercepted, handing Los Angeles its sixth win of the season. New York Times, "What We Learned From Week 16 of the N.F.L. Season," 27 Dec. 2020 Regulation ended with his three-point heave that fell short. Marcus Fuller, Star Tribune, "Marcus Carr, Both Gach power Gophers past Boston College 85-80," 8 Dec. 2020 Not counting his heave to a wide-open Arnold, Murray passed for 114 yards. Dylan Hernández Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Rams can find plenty of value in Jared Goff being a $110-million game manager," 6 Dec. 2020 What, in real-time, looked like a desperation heave was actually a really great throw. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "Browns rediscovered their identity on Sunday’s most important drive: Rewatch observations," 17 Nov. 2020 As Cancar’s last-second heave missed, Curry raised his fist and smiled, acknowledging that — even in a game that doesn’t count — Golden State made some positive strides. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors find reasons to celebrate in preseason-opening win over Nuggets," 12 Dec. 2020 On the final play, Taylor’s deep heave was intercepted by Byrd’s Junior Brown. Roy Lang Iii | Contributing Writer, NOLA.com, "Byrd scores late, holds off Curtis comeback to pull off 14-13 win in Division I semis," 11 Dec. 2020 Daniel Sorensen then picked off a heave to midfield by Carr with 19 seconds left, and the Chiefs kneeled out their 18th win in the last 19 games since Nov. 10, 2019. oregonlive, "Kansas City rallies to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders in a thriller: Recap, score, stats and more," 23 Nov. 2020

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 6


circa 1571, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for heave

Verb and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for heave

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for heave

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Heave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heave. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for heave


How to pronounce heave (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of heave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to lift or pull (something) with effort
US : 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 How to pronounce heave (audio) \
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 How to pronounce heave (audio) \
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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