\ 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

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 The cement sidewalk would have heaved up from the pressure of its roots. Bonnie Blodgett, Twin Cities, "I let my plants tell me where they want to live," 29 June 2019 Sisters Jade and Baddie Gi said they were then injured when Cardi B’s entourage heaved bottles and chairs at them in the Queens bar. Cicero Estrella, The Mercury News, "Cardi B politely pleads not guilty to felony charges from club brawl," 25 June 2019 The animals heave up at East Basin and sprawl across the rocks along the waterfront and under the pubs and coffee shops that have filled the now-defunct canneries. Sallie Tisdale, Harper's magazine, "Catechism of the Waters," 10 June 2019 On locations: The Hotline has heaved a chunk of responsibility for the Pac-12’s football downturn on USC, the one true blue blood in the conference that has underperformed in high- and low-profile games alike. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "NBA Draft preview: Pac-12 totals project to historical standard, but the path avoids Tucson and Westwood," 20 June 2019 Despite recent optimism that Lake City would escape the worst effects, volunteers heaved sand bags Tuesday outside the Hinsdale County Museum as Grant Houston, editor of the Lake City Silver World newspaper and founder of the museum, looked on. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "18,000 sandbags later, Lake City flood fears diminish even as rivers rise across southwestern Colorado," 16 June 2019 Instead, Iguodala heaved it way across court to Green, who did well just to keep the ball in play under Siakam’s smothering presence. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "To win, Raptors had to stop Stephen Curry — and they did in the end," 13 June 2019 His prose heaved with period slang and the books featured a mix of real and invented characters through which Ellroy explored the roots of criminal and even psychopathic behaviour. The Economist, "James Ellroy finally has happiness in his sights," 8 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

18 Jul 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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characterized by aphorism

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