\ 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

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 Beard’s motion-heavy offense isn’t really designed for one player to heave 15-plus shots a game. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 3 Jan. 2022 Now that the linebackers and defensive ends are pitching in, the only hole is cornerback, and that issue gets disguised a lot when quarterbacks don’t have time to heave deep. Nubyjas Wilborn | Nwilborn@al.com, al, 29 Oct. 2021 Golden State turned it over on the ensuing inbound pass at the other end, but Brogdon didn't have enough time to heave a potential game winner from three-quarter court. James Boyd, The Indianapolis Star, 14 Dec. 2021 Prescott’s surrounded with weapons—receivers Lamb, Amari Cooper, tight end Dalton Schultz—and always seems ready to heave a touchdown to a teammate racing past coverage downfield. Jason Gay, WSJ, 18 Oct. 2021 Without any timeouts, Malik Beasley was left to heave a shot from 74 feet that fell way short at the horn for the T-Wolves (4-9). Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 17 Nov. 2021 City workers heave plastic bags and shake public trash cans into the back of trucks. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 11 Nov. 2021 The rocky ground could bottle up relatively small bursts, but not those of the superbombs, whose vast energies and miles-wide fireballs would burn and break through hard rock to heave radiation into the air. New York Times, 30 Oct. 2021 This huge, remote and barely habited island is known for frozen landscapes, remote fjords and glaciers that heave giant sheets of ice into the sea. New York Times, 1 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Phoenix ran away with a 124-93 home win Dec. 25, 2009, over the Los Angeles Clippers highlighted by Grant Hill's 70-foot heave to end the first half. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 25 Dec. 2021 JP Moorman’s 65-foot heave at the buzzer was one of 14 treys the Highlanders hit in the game. San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Nov. 2021 New Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 343 yards and 4 TDs – including a 75-yard scoring heave to DeSean Jackson -- demonstrating that the trigger man the franchise has bet the farm on can, yes, beat Tom Brady in a big game. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, 26 Sep. 2021 The third was the game’s last and ended when Brunner’s desperation final-play heave was intercepted by Williamson. Michael Lerseth, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Nov. 2021 The Aztecs trailed 57-56 and played lock-down defense, forcing BYU into a desperation heave at the shot-clock buzzer … only for 6-foot-8, 235-pound Caleb Lohner to reach over 6-3 Trey Pulliam for the offensive rebound and an easy put-back. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Nov. 2021 Parker had a block and rebound on the ensuing possession and made a free throw with less than two seconds left to force the Sun into a desperation heave at the buzzer. BostonGlobe.com, 3 Oct. 2021 Willie Hernangomez had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Naji Marshall added 18 points — including a turnaround, half-court heave off the glass as the first half ended — for New Orleans. Brett Martel, ajc, 17 May 2021 In between those two attempts came a heave that Herro wasn’t trying to convert. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, 18 Nov. 2021

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

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

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Heave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heave. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on heave

Nglish: Translation of heave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heave for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heave


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