\ 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

For evidence, see the thousands of options on Amazon’s Audible, which sells works by heavy-hitters in the community like Zane and Rachel Kramer Bussel, or the DIY audio erotica craze on YouTube. Jessie Militare, Marie Claire, "The Future of Women-Friendly Erotica Is Audio Porn, According to This App," 26 Dec. 2018 Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Rokot ending, more spaceports, back-to-back Falcon Heavies," 21 Dec. 2018 Although Reuters reports that traffic continues to be heavy around the perimeter of the zone, El País claims that even there, traffic levels were down by between 1 and 2 percent. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Madrid’s ban on polluting vehicles cuts traffic by nearly 32 percent in some areas," 3 Dec. 2018 Let a shirt-folding board do the heavy-lifting for you, or make your own out of cardboard. Shelby Deering, Good Housekeeping, "The Laundry Essentials That’ll Save You a Ton of Time During the Holidays," 27 Nov. 2018 Even filling 25,000 positions, much less 50,000, is a heavy lift, even over several years. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "What might be behind the latest twist on Amazon’s HQ2(s)," 6 Nov. 2018 In nearby Gassan, the snow is so heavy the season only starts in April but runs through July. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, "Slow Skiing in Japan's Deep North," 11 Oct. 2018 The heavy-lift rocket's payload is Parker's namesake, a probe built to fly closer to the sun than any before it. Robin Seemangal, Popular Mechanics, "A Workhorse Rocket Maker Tries to Touch the Sun—And Stay Relevant," 16 Aug. 2018 CubeSmart, which has a heavy presence around New York, has returned 783%. Ryan Dezember, WSJ, "Got Junk? Self-Storage Investors Hope So," 21 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The dominant view favored heavy-handed, top-down planning. Adam O’neal, WSJ, "The Anti-Bill Gates," 7 Dec. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Its Shanghai chapter lost over 600 members in recent years, while a poll of U.S. businesses by the organization in manufacturing-heavy Guangdong found 70% may delay China investment or shift it overseas. James T. Areddy, WSJ, "American Entrepreneurs Who Flocked to China Are Heading Home, Disillusioned," 7 Dec. 2018 That doesn't mean the game is flawless, which is to be expected in something so story-heavy. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Red Dead Redemption II," 25 Oct. 2018 The majority of the fire was burning in California, but the northern portion of the fire was burning in timber-heavy, steep-sloped areas in Oregon, Cal Fire Siskiyou said in a tweet. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Deadly Klamathon fire continues to grow near Oregon border," 8 July 2018 An untitled piece features a frail fawn being swept up and away by a heavy, billowing opera cape. James Charisma, latimes.com, "The hyper-real world of sculptor Erick Swenson comes to life at Honolulu museum," 4 June 2018 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

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

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

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Statistics for heavy

Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

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

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