\ˈhe-vē \
heavier; heaviest

Definition of heavy 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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

5a : borne down by something oppressive : burdened returned with heavy spirit

b : pregnant especially : approaching parturition She is heavy with child.

6a : 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

9a : 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

11a : 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



Definition of heavy (Entry 2 of 3)

: 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.


plural heavies

Definition of heavy (Entry 3 of 3)

2a : 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

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Other Words from heavy


heaviness noun

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


“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


The smoke hung heavy in the air.


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The move comes just a few months after Verizon received heavy criticism for throttling emergency responders’ unlimited plans in California, hindering the firefighters’ ability to provide emergency services and battle the Mendocino wildfires. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Verizon offers emergency first responders discounts on unlimited plans," 6 Dec. 2018 Blame it on the cold air, dry indoor heat, holiday stress, or an uncharted new heavy duty seasonal moisturizer but unexpected acne can strike at any moment. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The Pro's Guide To Making a Blemish Vanish...Fast," 28 Nov. 2018 Lion Air itself has had many accidents, including a fatal one in 2004, in which 25 people died when a DC-9 crashed in heavy rain in Solo, on Java. Barbara S. Peterson, Popular Mechanics, "How Could a Brand New Boeing Jet Crash Without Warning?," 31 Oct. 2018 Another trick is wearing heavier fabrics that are less likely to fly up in the wind, Meier, the founder of Beaumont Etiquette, added. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Narrowly Avoided a Wardrobe Malfunction at Princess Eugenie's Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 The publication featured the top seven first-year coaches (including Florida’s Dan Mullen and FSU’s Willie Taggart) as well as coaches on the hot seat (let’s just say there’s a heavy Big 12 presence). Matt Murschel, OrlandoSentinel.com, "A guide to top college football preview magazines," 13 July 2018 Experts estimate there are no more than 440 animals left on the planet, and the species’ future is bleak because of heavy mortality and poor reproduction in recent years. William J. Kole, The Seattle Times, "Simulator helps experts understand how whales get entangled," 21 Nov. 2018 At 789 pounds, InSight is not as heavy as the nearly 2,000-pound Curiosity, so its landing does not need to be as complicated (i.e. no sky crane necessary). Loren Grush, The Verge, "NASA’s InSight lander has just six and a half minutes to land on Mars in one piece," 21 Nov. 2018 They can be used as a tent, as ground cover, to catch rainwater, to patch holes, for a trap, and even to drag back heavy animals. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "What doomsday preppers are buying this Black Friday," 21 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

These games are a bit older, and many have been available for cheap in past Humble bundles or Steam sales, but make no mistake: This is a heavy-hitting, long-lasting group of games. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "The $12 Humble WB Games Classics Bundle brings the hits with Batman, Mad Max, and Mordor," 24 Oct. 2018 Even so, many experts on the region and Uighur activists say unrest there is driven more by China’s heavy-handed policing, strict limits on religious activity, and preferential policies for non-Uighur migrants to the region. Josh Chin, WSJ, "China’s Uighur Camps Swell as Beijing Widens the Dragnet," 17 Aug. 2018 The team would be top heavy, but with some shrewd maneuvering the Lakers could have their non-taxpayer mid-level exception available, a nearly $9 million chip to bring in another solid free agent. Rohan Nadkarni, SI.com, "Examining the Ripple Effects of LeBron James Forgoing Player Option," 29 June 2018 This picture is a heavy-handed pursuit of diminishing returns, given that the male lead, Vincent Elbaz, is equally unappealing as a creepy alpha male and a befuddled representative of oppressed manhood. New York Times, "In ‘Set It Up’ and 2 Other Netflix Comedies, No One Emerges Unscathed," 14 June 2018 Go heavy on the garnishes: Slice a bagful of lemons into wheels and wedges and grab a few bunches of fresh herbs. Marian Bull, GQ, "—Peter Meehan, Author Of An Upcoming Barbecue Book And Former Editor Of," 27 June 2018 The suspect is described as having a medium/heavy build and standing about six feet. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Gwinnett cops: Man threw rock through restaurant glass door to rob it," 6 July 2018 Emotion hangs heavy in the air from the moment the lights go up on designer Samantha DiGeorge’s typical elementary-school classroom. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Slow to build, 'Gidion's Knot' pays off in tangle of wrenching emotions," 28 June 2018 And while Welles has heavy touring planned for the fall, Wells, who also works at an East Nashville coffee shop, plans to keep adding to his stockpile of material. Gary Graff, Billboard, "Welles Debuts Video for Beatles & Foxygen-Inspired 'Hold Me Like I'm Leaving': Premiere," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These accounts were well-researched, content-heavy, and designed to appeal to people who would align with Trump. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "How Russia’s “influence operations” targeted the midterms (and how they still do)," 22 Oct. 2018 The pot stack provides a large surface area for the water to turn to ice; enough accumulation can make a boat top-heavy and prone to roll over. Outside Online, "In Search of the Vanished Destination," 17 Apr. 2018 Tajik authorities often play up the threat of Islamic violence to justify its heavy handed policies toward religious movements in the country, which are seen as a threat to the current government. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "Islamic State Underscores Responsibility for Tajikistan Attack," 31 July 2018 Given the nature of the shy but docile animal, tours are typically more educational-heavy than snuggle-heavy. Grace Dickinson, Philly.com, "Hang out with (and pet) pigs, alpacas, goats, and more at these farms and animal rescues near Philadelphia," 6 June 2018 The defense has usually done well during the opening scrimmage of the spring and fall camp, which typically is run-heavy and allows the defense to play downhill. James Crepea, AL.com, "Auburn focusing on corrections after first spring scrimmage," 27 Mar. 2018 More processor-heavy is the fact that, unless developers are willing to live with a plunge in image quality, the frame rate essentially doubles, to some 120 frames per second. Erik Sofge, Popular Mechanics, "Why 3D Doesn't Work for TV, But Is Great for Gaming: Analysis," 11 Mar. 2010 The draw gods did Stephens no favors, pitting her against Donna Vekic of Croatia, a formidable grass court player, who hits a heavy, flat ball. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Five Thoughts From Day One of Wimbledon," 2 July 2018 What seems more likely now is that the company will launch 20 or more Falcon 9 boosters and just a few heavies each year. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Forget the Falcon Heavy’s payload and focus on where the rocket will go," 2 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heavy.' 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 heavy


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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for heavy


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


see heavy entry 1

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Statistics for heavy

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for heavy

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

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More Definitions for heavy



Financial Definition of heavy

What It Is

In the investing world, heavy refers to a security whose price can't seem to rise.

How It Works

Let's say Company XYZ has been trading between $12 and $15 a share for the last six months despite two quarters of good earnings. We might say the stock is heavy.

Why It Matters

Sometimes individual securities aren't the only things that are heavy; the whole market can be heavy. In those cases, the imbalance of buyers and sellers can create an opportunity to buy certain worthy stocks while they are "on sale." However, some technical analysis might find that a heavy market reflects investor hesitancy about the market and could be the precursor to a market that is about to take a big dip.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of heavy

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: having great weight : difficult to lift or move

: large in size and weight

: having a particular weight



English Language Learners Definition of heavy (Entry 2 of 3)

: in a heavy way



English Language Learners Definition of heavy (Entry 3 of 3)

: a bad person in a movie or play

: a person or thing that is serious, important, or powerful


\ˈhe-vē \
heavier; heaviest

Kids Definition of heavy

1 : having great weight

2 : unusually great in amount, force, or effect heavy rain heavy sleep heavy damage

3 : made with thick strong material heavy rope

4 : dense and thick heavy eyebrows

5 : hard to put up with a heavy responsibility

6 : sad or troubled It's with a heavy heart that I leave you.

7 : having little strength or energy My legs grew heavier with every step.

Other Words from heavy

heaviness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on heavy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heavy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heavy

Spanish Central: Translation of heavy

Nglish: Translation of heavy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heavy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on heavy

What made you want to look up heavy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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