heavy

1 of 3

adjective

heavier; heaviest
1
a
: having great weight
also : characterized by mass or weight
how heavy is it?
b
: having a high specific gravity : having great weight in proportion to bulk
Lead and gold are heavy metals.
c(1)
of an isotope : having or being atoms of greater than normal mass for that element
heavy carbons
(2)
of a chemical compound : containing heavy isotopes
heavy ammonia
2
: difficult to bear
specifically : causing or characterized by severe pain or suffering
a heavy sorrow
3
: of weighty import : serious
heavy consequences
4
: characterized by depth or intensity : profound
a heavy silence
5
a
: borne down by something oppressive : burdened
returned with heavy spirit
b
: pregnant
especially : approaching parturition
She is heavy with child.
6
a
: slow or dull from loss of vitality or resiliency : sluggish
a tired heavy step
b
: lacking sparkle or vivacity : drab
a heavy writing style
c
: lacking mirth or gaiety : cheerless
d
: characterized by declining prices
The market is heavy.
7
: dulled with weariness : drowsy
eyes were growing heavy
8
: greater in quantity or quality than the average of its kind or class: such as
a
: of unusually large size or amount
a heavy turnout
b
: of great force
heavy seas
c
: threatening to rain or snow
a heavy sky
heavy clouds
d(1)
: impeding motion
heavy traffic
(2)
: full of clay and inclined to hold water
heavy soil
e
: coming as if from a depth : loud
heavy breathing
f
: thick, dense
a heavy beard
a heavy growth of timber
heavy syrup
g
: oppressive, overwhelming
heavy perfume
heavy weather
rule with a heavy hand
h
: steep, acute
on a heavy grade
i
: laborious, difficult
heavy going
j
: immoderate
a heavy smoker
k
: more powerful than usual for its kind
a heavy cavalry
a heavy cruiser
l
: of large capacity or output
a heavy pump
9
a
: very rich and hard to digest
heavy desserts
b
: not properly raised or leavened
heavy bread
10
: producing goods (such as coal, steel, or chemicals) used in the production of other goods
heavy industry
11
a
: having stress (see stress entry 1 sense 5a)
a heavy rhythm
used especially of syllables in accentual verse
b
: being the strongest degree of stress in speech
the heavy stress on the first syllable of basketball
12
: relating to theatrical parts of a grave or somber nature
playing heavy roles
13
: possessing a high degree or a great deal of something specified : long
heavy on ideas
14
: important, prominent
a heavy politician
heaviness noun

heavy

2 of 3

adverb

: to a great or overwhelming degree
weighed heavy on her mind
: with or as if with great weight : in a heavy manner : heavily
Clouds hung heavy in the sky.

heavy

3 of 3

noun

plural heavies
1
2
a
: a theatrical role of a dignified or somber character
also : an actor playing such a role
b
: a character in a story or play who opposes the hero : villain
c
: one blamed for a particular evil or difficulty : villain
d
: someone or something influential, serious, or important
Choose the Right Synonym for heavy

heavy, weighty, ponderous, cumbrous, cumbersome mean having great weight.

heavy implies that something has greater density or thickness than the average of its kind or class.

a heavy child for his age

weighty suggests having actual and not just relative weight.

a load of weighty boxes

ponderous implies having great weight because of size and massiveness with resulting great inertia.

ponderous elephants in a circus parade

cumbrous and cumbersome imply heaviness and bulkiness that make for difficulty in grasping, moving, carrying, or manipulating.

wrestled with the cumbrous furniture
early cameras were cumbersome and inconvenient

Examples of heavy in a Sentence

Adjective “Is that box too heavy for you to lift?” “No, it's not very heavy.” The truck was carrying a heavy load. The man was six feet tall with a heavy build. Turnout for the election is expected to be heavy. We got caught in heavy traffic. Heavy rains caused flooding in the area. She was wearing sunglasses and heavy makeup. The storm caused heavy damage to the building. The company is facing heavy losses this quarter. a day of heavy fighting Adverb The smoke hung heavy in the air. Noun He played the heavy in film after film. The conference will be attended by several media heavies. They have become one of the industry heavies. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
While one house was fully involved in heavy flames, two other homes were impacted from heat and fire, according to the fire agency. Rachel Smith, The Courier-Journal, 23 Feb. 2024 Designed with capabilities to take great photos on the go without the heavy, bulky body seen on traditional cameras, smartphone cameras have become one of the best ways to capture memories. Lauren Breedlove, Travel + Leisure, 23 Feb. 2024 The almost 3,000-foot-long tunnel Phoenix natives know as the Deck Park tunnel had a persistent leak on the eastbound Interstate 10 for over a decade, but with recent Valley rainstorms the leak, now heavier, made its way to the westbound lanes the past week. Kira Caspers, The Arizona Republic, 23 Feb. 2024 Trending on Billboard This marks the first time that two of the chairs will be occupied by country acts, leading the way for some heavy competition for country contestants between Dan + Shay and McEntire. Melinda Newman, Billboard, 23 Feb. 2024 There stood Rodrigo Prieto, Scorsese’s long-time cinematographer, outfitted in heavy rain gear. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 22 Feb. 2024 In fact, Russia’s forces were defeated and retreated after suffering heavy losses. Serhiy Morgunov, Washington Post, 11 Feb. 2024 The Saffir-Simpson scale, however, remains unscathed and in heavy rotation. Marshall Shepherd, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 This year, the Chiefs found a groove with heavy personnel and shorter passes, which led to KC’s staff branching off to create complements to those plays. Jesse Newell, Kansas City Star, 11 Feb. 2024
Adverb
The rain should arrive from the west during the morning, perhaps starting with a touch of snow or sleet, then come down heavy at times during the afternoon into evening before exiting to the east by around midnight. Molly Robey, Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2024 This nearly two-hour recording from Chicago’s Podlasie starts out heavy—the introductory track sounds like attack planes on the horizon—and just gets heavier from there. Philip Sherburne, Pitchfork, 22 Aug. 2023 All of the Spark products lean heavy into customization. Spin Contributor, Spin, 18 Aug. 2023 Forecasts show the smoke, which has hung heavy over New York, Chicago, Detroit and Washington, D.C., will ease Friday afternoon and through the weekend. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, 30 June 2023 Her chaperone for the night, to overcome the heavy quiet, asked her: Who was Jessica Rogers? Thallman, oregonlive, 26 Jan. 2023 James looked heavy-legged, and Davis struggled to find rhythm early before both arrived in the third quarter to tighten the score after the Clippers built a 24-point lead. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 6 Apr. 2023 Family members of those killed in last year’s massacre at a Uvalde elementary school were heavy-hearted Monday as news spread of another shooting, at a private Christian school in Tennessee. Cayla Harris, San Antonio Express-News, 27 Mar. 2023 Advertisement - Continue Reading Below 16 Move Heavy Stuff The favorite heavy-moving tool of Chris Wells, driver-owner-operator of A-Mrazek Moving Systems, is ...a blanket. Michael Stillwell, Popular Mechanics, 27 Mar. 2023
Noun
Your album really deals in that light treatment of the heavy. E.r. Pulgar, Rolling Stone, 25 Jan. 2024 Entertainment heavies were in good cheer after the SAG-AFTRA strike concluded in November, celebrating the holidays by heading to exotic as well as familiar destinations. Beth Landman, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Jan. 2024 Well, there’s essentially two groups within the rare element family, lights and heavies. IEEE Spectrum, 7 Dec. 2023 But the federation isn’t playing the heavy here, though. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 22 Dec. 2023 Chaplin presented as a small man, and the Tramp reads as small, an effect that Chaplin reinforced by casting much bigger actors as the heavies in his pictures. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 13 Nov. 2023 Sign up In the Georgia indictment, the cast of characters tilts inevitably toward scoundrels: Trump, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Mark Meadows, et al., along with less-familiar heavies like Stephen Cliffgard Lee, Harrison William Prescott Floyd, and Trevian C. Kutti. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 15 Aug. 2023 Crawford has never fought in that heavy of a division. Jorge Castillo, Los Angeles Times, 1 Oct. 2023 Fittingly, the wine line list skews heavy from the region, and includes an easy-sipping Pinot Noir by the glass from local urban winery Boedecker Cellars. Katie Chang, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heavy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Adverb

Middle English hevy, from Old English hefig; akin to Old High German hebīc heavy, Old English hebban to lift — more at heave entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of heavy was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near heavy

Cite this Entry

“Heavy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heavy. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

heavy

1 of 3 adjective
heavier; heaviest
1
a
: having great weight or greater than usual weight
b
: weighty in proportion to bulk : having a high density
gold is a heavy metal
c
: having or being atoms of greater than normal mass
heavy isotopes
2
: very hard to deal with : grievous
a heavy sorrow
3
: of weighty importance : serious
words heavy with meaning
4
: lacking life, gaiety, or charm : dull
5
6
: greater in volume, force, or power than the average
heavy traffic
heavy seas
heavy infantry
7
: overcast entry 2
a heavy sky
8
: laborious sense 2, labored
heavy breathing
9
: using or consuming much
a heavy eater
10
: rich and not easily digested
heavy desserts
11
: producing goods (as coal or steel) used in the production of other goods
heavy industry
heavily
ˈhev-ə-lē
adverb
heaviness
ˈhev-ē-nəs
noun

heavy

2 of 3 adverb
: in a heavy manner : heavily
time hung heavy on their hands

heavy

3 of 3 noun
plural heavies
1
2
a
: a theatrical role or an actor representing a dignified or impressive person

More from Merriam-Webster on heavy

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