\ 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 : 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

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

Dinson chased the quarterback toward the sideline when Seals-Jones came barreling back from the end zone, heaving his shoulder into the defensive back’s left side at the 3-yard line. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "4 years after devastating injury nearly ended his career, Jeremiah Dinson is better than ever," 16 Sep. 2019 At the preliminary hearing, a short cellphone video recorded by a witness showed that Starlard started to heave a rental bicycle at Wells, and Wells grabbed a broomstick. Pauline Repard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Guilty plea in beating death of man near Petco Park," 13 Sep. 2019 Kentucky’s offense, in fact, got rolling when Wilson began dropping back and heaving it more. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Led by Terry Wilson, Kentucky football's passing game wakes up at just the right time," 31 Aug. 2019 The hydrofoil heaves in response to tidal currents to turn the energy of tides into electrical current. Shweta Narayan, Smithsonian, "How Engineers of New Energy Technology Are Taking Cues From Nature," 31 Aug. 2019 Anthony Tolliver, attempting a lob pass to Karl-Anthony Towns at the rim, heaved the ball way out of bounds. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "NBA institutes coach challenges; 5 times one would have come in handy for Steve Kerr," 10 July 2019 Most shadowy of all, however, is leader Maynard James Keenan, casually night swimming through these heaving patterns. Christopher R. Weingarten, EW.com, "Tool's Fear Inoculum is a deeply satisfying return to form," 1 Sep. 2019 Franck and her collaborators found that heaving at certain frequencies and pitching at certain amplitudes leads to the generation of a large amount of lift force. Shweta Narayan, Smithsonian, "How Engineers of New Energy Technology Are Taking Cues From Nature," 31 Aug. 2019 But as startling as the crisp and, yes, dramatic images may be, a sense of slight monotony sometimes creeps in after so many shots of ice, calving glaciers, heaving waves, sea foam, rain, snow, fog, mist, etc. Michael Sullivan, Houston Chronicle, "Documentary ‘Aquarela’ is a beautifully terrifying immersion," 29 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Justin Herbert with a 20-yard heave, hit in the process, Spencer Webb comes down with it and steps over Auburn CB Javaris Davis, who didn’t even jump to defend it. oregonlive, "Live updates: No. 11 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 16 Auburn Tigers," 31 Aug. 2019 Bauer was fined by Major League Baseball for his startling heave, a person familiar with the discipline told the AP. Tom Withers, Houston Chronicle, "Indians trade Trevor Bauer to Reds in 3-team deal," 30 July 2019 Gilmore got one of his own in the fourth quarter, catching a Fitzpatrick heave into his midsection and taking it back 54 yards for a score. BostonGlobe.com, "Just thinking: Hapless Dolphins had no chance against Patriots," 16 Sep. 2019 That put Oregon within range for a last-second heave to the end zone, but Justin Herbert’s pass sailed out the back of the end zone as time expired and Auburn held on for the win. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "2 of the biggest areas Auburn plans to address after beating Oregon," 4 Sep. 2019 The third came on a 55-yard pass, the fourth on a 60-yard heave from Hamler to former Bonita Vista High standout Quentin Harrison. Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune, "USD has too many turnovers, rough day on defense vs. Cal Poly," 31 Aug. 2019 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

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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Statistics for heave

Last Updated

10 Oct 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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