\ 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

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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 Eastern European Time, horns sounded in celebration as tugboats were able to heave the Ever Given back into the water, reports the New York Times. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Mega Shipping Container Stuck in the Suez Canal Is Now Free," 24 Mar. 2021 With the shot clock dwindling, Campbell either tries to drive or passes to a teammate 25 feet from the basket who has to heave a desperation shot. Los Angeles Times, "Letters to Sports: It might be a four-gone conclusion for UCLA," 12 Mar. 2021 That was followed by a third-down interception on a desperation heave by Mahomes that was knocked away from Hill and into the arms of safety Antoine Winfield. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: Tom Brady just gets better with age with seventh Super Bowl victory," 8 Feb. 2021 The winter cycle of freezing and thawing that splits concrete and creates potholes can also cause the soil in a garden to crack and heave, wrenching up roots. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Frozen soil is fine for gardens in winter, but mulching is important for another reason," 13 Dec. 2020 Changing rooms are explosions of sweat as panting bankers heave themselves into salopettes. The Economist, "Charlemagne To ski or not to ski?," 5 Dec. 2020 Wentz lofted a Hail Mary into the end zone that was tipped … and snagged by Hail Mary specialist Richard Rogers (yes, the same guy who caught Aaron Rodgers’ desperation heave against the Lions in 2015) with just 12 seconds left in regulation. Michael Rand, Star Tribune, "Much-maligned Carson Wentz costs bettor $500,000 with Hail Mary," 1 Dec. 2020 And when the Vikings got one more chance on offense after the Schultz score, Robinson was once again on the field for Brown, covering Thielen on the fourth-down desperation heave by Cousins that fell incomplete. Dallas News, "Say his name: Unknown Cowboys player has big role in fourth quarter of win over Vikings," 23 Nov. 2020 Curry and Thompson will still heave from long distance. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Opinion: How the Warriors will quickly become an NBA championship contender again," 12 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her last-second jumper, a turnaround heave as she was swarmed by three Cardinal defenders, bounced off the back of the rim as time expired, delivering the Cardinal their third title in program history. New York Times, "N.C.A.A. Basketball Tournaments," 4 Apr. 2021 The Clemson quarterback set a high bar, showcasing his arm strength with a nearly 70-yard heave. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "32 things we learned from 2021 NFL draft prospects' pro days," 2 Apr. 2021 Big man Al Eichelberger kept Cleveland State's season alive with a miracle heave during the first round of the Horizon League tournament. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "What to watch for Friday in the 2021 NCAA tournament: Odds, players to watch," 19 Mar. 2021 After Dixon put them up one, Spalding’s Jalen Bouknight got past midcourt and had to double pump a heave that was off the mark due to Chinnia’s alert defense. Glenn Graham, baltimoresun.com, "Mount Carmel scrambles past Spalding, 80-79, in boys basketball," 12 Mar. 2021 Closing time: The Heat led 55-45 at halftime, but that lead was down to 77-70 at the end of the third period, after Pelicans guard Josh Hart converted a halfcourt heave at the close of the quarter. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Jimmy Butler returns to fuel Heat past Pelicans 103-93 in absence of Bam Adebayo," 5 Mar. 2021 Akienreh Johnson let go of a halfcourt heave with about 3 seconds to play that clanged off the rim, and the Wolverines failed to get a shot off on the ensuing inbounds play with less than a second on the clock. Greg Luca, San Antonio Express-News, "Baylor pushes past Michigan in overtime to earn spot in Elite Eight," 27 Mar. 2021 Mira Mesa did get him for three interceptions, although one was on a 4th-and-8 heave to the goal line in the game’s final minute. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Christian opens season with 30-14 victory at Mira Mesa," 19 Mar. 2021 After Andrew Smith gives Butler the lead with 2.2 seconds to go, Shelvin Mack inexplicably runs into Pitt’s Gilbert Brown as Brown tries a half-court desperation heave. Los Angeles Times, "The Sports Report: UCLA defeats Michigan State in overtime," 19 Mar. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for heave

Last Updated

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Heave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heave. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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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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