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

In addition to his clinic from Prime Time, the series includes Manning heaving footballs to typically sure-handed Cris Carter from the top of the Bryant Park Hotel to the park below in Manhattan, re-enacting a 1926 New York Giants publicity stunt. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Inside 'Peyton's Places': Acclaimed QB Manning takes entertaining walk through NFL history," 10 Aug. 2019 Davis, the next hitter, doubled, but Pillar got Menez back to the dugout unscathed by diving to catch an Alonso flyball then heaving a throw to third on the fly to double up Davis, who tried to tag and advance. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Giants get solid debuts from Menez, Green, then beat the Mets on Yastrzemski’s walkoff homer," 21 July 2019 Jean Claude Exantus’s wife and business partner, Acela, a cheerful woman twenty-one years his junior, was there to watch as the first mattresses were heaved three stories down and piled onto wooden dinghies waiting in the harbor. Rowan Moore Gerety, Harper's magazine, "Downstream," 10 June 2019 The heaving crowds lining the fairway and packed in around the hilltop green were stunned, too. Rob Hodgetts, CNN, "Rory McIlroy, David Duval suffer horror holes at The Open," 18 July 2019 Wolfe sings, repeating the line as the music heaves. Randall Roberts, latimes.com, "California Sounds: New music from Amon Tobin, Chelsea Wolfe and Salaam Remi & Terrace Martin," 19 June 2019 And of course, the newbies are responsible for the beverage service, heaving cases of beer and water on board. Stephanie Apstein, SI.com, "The Perilous Life of Rookies in the Big Leagues," 6 June 2019 Off an inbounds pass, Seth Lundy heaved the ball down the court to the sprinting and wide-open floor general. Rick O'brien, Philly.com, "Roman Catholic's furious comeback in PIAA playoffs sends Plymouth Whitemarsh packing," 15 Mar. 2018 Their lungs will heave, breathing harder and quicker to try to compensate for the falling air pressure. John Leicester, baltimoresun.com, "Aiming high: Altitude is the acid test at Tour de France," 5 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With two seconds left in the NFL championship game and the Bears nursing a four-point lead, Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle reached back for a desperation heave to the end zone. Will Larkin, chicagotribune.com, "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 41, Richie Petitbon," 27 July 2019 The Kentucky losing streak to Florida might have ended at 16 games had Lorenzen taken a sack late in the 2003 game instead of making a desperate heave that was intercepted to set up the game-winning score. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Jared Lorenzen was not Kentucky's best quarterback, but he was its most memorable," 10 July 2019 Social media lights up with joy any time a player sends his lumber skyward, and while a KBO-style toss is still a bridge too far, drops and heaves are commonplace now. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "There's No Villain in the Madison Bumgarner-Max Muncy Spat," 11 June 2019 Last Thursday against the Indians, the Rangers’ Asdrubal Cabrera got the old heave-ho for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Doug Eddings. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "Mickey Callaway Should Have Been Fired for Reporter Confrontation," 25 June 2019 The teams’ most recent meeting also was on Dec. 7 in 2013, when Askia Booker’s long-range heave at the buzzer gave the Buffs a 75-72 win and ended Kansas’ 19-game winning streak against CU. Pat Rooney, The Denver Post, "CU Buffs basketball adds home-and-home series against Kansas," 3 June 2019 Baker’s final heave from beyond half-court was hard off the backboard. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Warren Central's magical run continues with upset of No. 1 Pike," 10 Feb. 2018 The biggest upset this March isn’t a wild heave at the horn for a winner from a No. Dan Gelston, The Seattle Times, "Upset Special? NCAA favorites lead the way into Sweet 16," 25 Mar. 2019 But a hopeful 28-footer from Ohio State's C.J. Jackson went down with less than two seconds left, and Johnson's halfcourt heave went begging. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "IU basketball falls to No. 15 Ohio State in double overtime," 23 Feb. 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

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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Statistics for heave

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

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
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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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

What made you want to look up heave? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to shake or wave menacingly

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