\ 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

Though technically perennials, mums are often grown as annuals owing to shallow root systems inclined to heave right out of the ground during winter's freeze-thaw cycles. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow the Most Gorgeous Chrysanthemums This Fall," 9 Aug. 2018 The students dug up paving stones from the Paris streets to heave at the police. Alissa J. Rubin, New York Times, "May 1968: A Month of Revolution Pushed France Into the Modern World," 5 May 2018 Jontay Porter, inbounding the ball against a full-court press, heaved the basketball to his right, near halfcourt — where no Tigers were. Aaron Reiss, kansascity, "Why Missouri blew a 12-point lead against Mississippi State’s press," 10 Feb. 2018 As rescue workers heaved people out of the mud, dangling from helicopters above the wreckage, Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, called together his three-week-old administration for a crisis meeting. Jeffrey T. Lewis, WSJ, "Around 200 People Missing, Seven Dead, After Dam Bursts in Brazil," 25 Jan. 2019 Another beachgoer drew nearer and heaved a sigh of relief after closer inspection. James Freeman, WSJ, "What Exactly Is Real in the Campaign Against Plastic?," 1 Aug. 2018 Venom heaves and lurches with questionable logic, writing, special effects, and acting. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Venom film review: Stupid, but still good enough to bite your head off," 5 Oct. 2018 No call for goal was made by the referee, and German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer quickly retrieved the ball and promptly heaved it forward for a counterattack. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Craziest FIFA World Cup moments: Zinedine Zidane's headbutt, biggest upset, 'Hand of God'," 6 June 2018 Fritz, whom Mann said is a sheep dog weighing close to 100 pounds, bit into the rope, and Mann heaved the pooch from the icy waters. Max Londberg, kansascity, "Missouri pastor braves icy pond to save pooch: ‘I wasn’t going to let that dog drown’," 24 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Green’s last-gasp heave to tie the game hit the back-iron. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State crushed on boards, but survives at Indiana, 63-60," 3 Feb. 2018 In this case, the Vikings, down to their last gasp with 10 seconds to play, planted the seed with Keenum’s high heave to Stefon Diggs. Bob Ford, Philly.com, "Vikings, Eagles will meet for NFC championship, as luck would have it | Bob Ford," 15 Jan. 2018 Hutchison launched a 35-foot heave when the shot clock inadvertently didn’t reset after an offensive rebound, only for Zach Haney to somehow tip it in through a tangle of arms. Mark Zeigler, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Aztecs put up fight but lose at Boise State," 13 Jan. 2018 Charlotte's inbound heave was deflected away as time expired. USA TODAY, "Olynyk's late FT after disputed foul helps Heat stun Hornets," 20 Jan. 2018 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

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

25 Apr 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

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using a distributed computer network

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