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 The Manics had become almost as big as Oasis, and almost as ponderous. Longreads, "Manic Street Preachers’ Album The Holy Bible," 25 June 2019 DeChambeau, who shot 71 on Saturday, was quick to hit back at critics of his ponderous shot-making. George Ramsay, CNN, "Bryson DeChambeau criticized by fellow pros for slow play," 11 Aug. 2019 Despite ponderous July heat that choked the air in the main room of the Upton Boxing Center, admirers crowded toward the ring apron, shooting cell-phone video of the WBA super featherweight champion. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "For boxer Gervonta Davis, Baltimore homecoming fight is a chance to ‘show them anything is possible’," 23 July 2019 Seating politicians in a hemicycle seems to encourage them to talk in a careful, ponderous way. The Economist, "Parliaments get facelifts; but it is politics that really needs one," 27 July 2019 There would be few exclamation points to follow, as the movie turned plodding and ponderous. Washington Post, "The blockbuster Mueller hearings that weren’t," 25 July 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for ponderous

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Ponderous.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ponderousness. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for ponderous

ponderous

adjective
How to pronounce ponderous (audio)

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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