ponderous

adjective
pon·​der·​ous | \ ˈpän-d(ə-)rəs How to pronounce ponderous (audio) \

Definition of ponderous

1 : of very great weight
2 : unwieldy or clumsy because of weight and size
3 : oppressively or unpleasantly dull : lifeless ponderous prose

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Other Words from ponderous

ponderously adverb
ponderousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for ponderous

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

The Serious History of Ponderous

Ponderous is ultimately from the Latin word for "weight," namely, "pondus" (which also gave us "ponder" and "preponderance" and is related to "pound"). We adopted "ponderous" with the literal sense "heavy" from Anglo-French ponderus in the 15th century, and early on we appended a figurative sense of "weighty," that is, "serious" or "important." But we stopped using the "serious" sense of "ponderous" around 200 years ago - perhaps because in the meantime we'd imposed on it a different figurative sense of "dull and lifeless," which we still use today.

Examples of ponderous in a Sentence

students struggling to stay awake during a ponderous lecture fell asleep during the ponderous speech

Recent Examples on the Web

All of which has turned America’s Pastime into a ponderous, slow-moving affair. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Baseball’s whole new ballgame: Strikeouts, home runs and growing concerns," 23 June 2019 After a brilliant start to the season that saw Sarri's men keep pace with Premier League champions Manchester City and Champions League winners Liverpool, Chelsea fans soon rebelled at a ponderous possession game with little cutting edge. chicagotribune.com, "Juventus move concludes Sarri's rocky stint at Chelsea," 14 June 2019 The sclerotic leadership of the Democratic Party and the ponderous scolds at the New York Times speak to the fierce urgency of someday, maybe. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "Where Our New World Begins," 10 May 2019 And the writing, liberated since Season 2 from Margaret Atwood’s elegantly spare source material, is all over the place, meaning that June gets ponderous inner monologues comparing herself to trees, but also sporadically clunky outbursts. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Empty Empowerment of The Handmaid’s Tale," 5 June 2019 Swansea City have boosted their Premier League survival hopes with a 1-1 draw against a ponderous Everton side. SI.com, "Swansea 1-1 Everton: Swans Boost Survival Hopes in Pulsating Draw Against Toffees," 14 Apr. 2018 Yannick Bolasie eventually got a shot away for the ponderous visitors that Lukasz Fabianski held, before Michael Keane nodded a Wayne Rooney free kick over the bar. SI.com, "Swansea 1-1 Everton: Swans Boost Survival Hopes in Pulsating Draw Against Toffees," 14 Apr. 2018 His Mozart, Haydn and Bach, for example, sound a bit ponderous by today’s standards. Allan Kozinn, WSJ, "‘George Szell: The Complete Columbia Album Collection’ Review: A Maestro’s Time in Cleveland Still Shines," 22 Aug. 2018 The on-rails tutorial missions were a bit of a slog, and the game’s ponderous movement felt needlessly plodding compared to the quick, tight controls of other 2018 games. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ponderous

Middle English, from Anglo-French ponderus, from Latin ponderosus, from ponder-, pondus weight

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Statistics for ponderous

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for ponderous

The first known use of ponderous was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for ponderous

ponderous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of ponderous

: very boring or dull
: slow or awkward because of weight and size

ponderous

adjective
pon·​der·​ous | \ ˈpän-də-rəs How to pronounce ponderous (audio) \

Kids Definition of ponderous

1 : very heavy a ponderous stone
2 : slow or clumsy because of weight and size The elephant moved with ponderous steps.
3 : unpleasantly dull a ponderous speech

Other Words from ponderous

ponderously adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on ponderous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ponderous

Spanish Central: Translation of ponderous

Nglish: Translation of ponderous for Spanish Speakers

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