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>
Examples of ponderous in a sentence
students struggling to stay awake during a ponderous lecture
<fell asleep during the ponderous speech>
Did You Know?
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.
Origin and Etymology of ponderous
Middle English, from Anglo-French ponderus, from Latin ponderosus, from ponder-, pondus weight
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of ponderous
PONDEROUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ponderous for English Language Learners
: very boring or dull
: slow or awkward because of weight and size
PONDEROUS Defined for Kids
Definition of ponderous for Students
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>
Seen and Heard
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