heavy

1 of 3

adjective

heavier; heaviest
1
a
: 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
5
a
: borne down by something oppressive : burdened
returned with heavy spirit
b
: pregnant
especially : approaching parturition
She is heavy with child.
6
a
: 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
9
a
: 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
11
a
: 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
heaviness noun

heavy

2 of 3

adverb

: 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.

heavy

3 of 3

noun

plural heavies
1
2
a
: 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
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

Example Sentences

Adjective “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 Adverb The smoke hung heavy in the air. Noun 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Most functional doormats are often made with heavy-duty materials, water-resistant properties, and grooved designs to trap debris. Kylee Mcguigan, Popular Mechanics, 24 Jan. 2023 With eight coal-finish ABS plastic blades, this heavy-duty ceiling fan spans 84 inches and was specifically designed for outdoor spaces that can get particularly hot and humid. Adria Greenhauff, Better Homes & Gardens, 24 Jan. 2023 The Yaktrax Hiking and Walking Traction Cleats are available in sizes from XS to L. Medium and large sizes come with an option for an additional heavy-duty, removable over-foot rubber strap that provides even greater support and fit. Karthika Gupta, Travel + Leisure, 23 Jan. 2023 The Solar P1 Pro is a bit too heavy duty for most people, but there are those who could make good use of it. Ben Sin, Forbes, 23 Jan. 2023 Designed for temperatures ranging between 30 and 50 degrees fahrenheit, these pants will require heavy-duty layers this time of year, but are perfect for early and late season days with just a baselayer. Taylor Davies, Robb Report, 21 Jan. 2023 Scrub the floor and sides of the fireplace with a heavy-duty bristle brush and a mixture of vinegar and warm water. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 20 Jan. 2023 Should the entire transportation sector become fully electrified, Romero of SDG&E said the hope would be to tap into the energy stored by light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles and provide grid reliability and resiliency. San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Jan. 2023 An even wilder 4x4² model features a long-travel suspension, heavy-duty portal axles, and more than 13 inches of ground clearance. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, 19 Jan. 2023
Adverb
The play treats his addiction heavy-handedly, complete with that overfamiliar moment in which a character is shocked to discover a needle lying around in a studio. Two Kings, Vulture, 20 Dec. 2022 His heavy-drinking father was emotionally distant, while his mother might beat him one moment and hug him the next. Paul Newman, Dallas News, 24 Oct. 2022 Whatever the case, from the opening bars, in which Mahler lays down the heavy-treading military march motif that will appear time and again, both conductor and ensemble were fully dialed into the music’s darkly expressive world. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Oct. 2022 Similar scenes were playing out across China that night as anger over heavy-handed pandemic restrictions spilled into the streets. Shen Lu And Liyan Qi, WSJ, 25 Jan. 2023 The introduction of Downey’s Iron Man as a key character in the plot situates the film nicely in the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe without feeling heavy-handed. Wired, WIRED, 18 Jan. 2023 Pushback from industry groups that find the standards heavy-handed is expected. Isabella Cueto, STAT, 6 Jan. 2023 For the most part, everything works and the heavy-handed skin does not get in the way of basic Android functionality. Ben Sin, Forbes, 18 Dec. 2022 The pushback from places like Jinzhou points to the challenge that Beijing might face in trying to unwind the heavy-handed approach that had until just this week seemed immovable. Chang Che, New York Times, 1 Dec. 2022
Noun
Futures tied to both the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 rose 0.9%. Chelsey Dulaney, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2022 The administration can play the heavy in a local dispute without having to worry about alienating its entire voting base. Soumya Karlamangla, New York Times, 1 Sep. 2022 Everyone’s feeds are more visual and less text-heavy. Nilay Patel, The Verge, 19 Jan. 2021 Archy Marshall is the moniker of King Krule, specifically used when the Londoner pulls back on his signature baritone crooning style in exchange for something that leans a bit more hip-hop heavy. Natalie Maher, Harper's BAZAAR, 28 Nov. 2022 The poised and sophisticated attorney, who spent much of the season trying to alleviate her anxiety as matters in her career and the world at large weighed heavy, is ready to hang it all up and finally retire from the good fight. Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2022 As of mid-morning London time: Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 led declines, down 1.2%. Chelsey Dulaney, WSJ, 28 Oct. 2022 As he’s been known to do, quarterback Aaron Rodgers showed up in grand fashion at the Welcome Back Packers Luncheon, making his entrance in the Lambeau Field Atrium on Wednesday in an ensemble heavy on the denim. Kendra Meinert, USA TODAY, 24 Aug. 2022 Futures tied to the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both slipped 0.4% while contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 fell 0.5%. Dave Sebastian, WSJ, 4 July 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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 entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near heavy

Cite this Entry

“Heavy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heavy. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

heavy

1 of 3 adjective
heavier; heaviest
1
a
: having great weight or greater than usual weight
b
: weighty in proportion to bulk : having a high density
gold is a heavy metal
c
: having or being atoms of greater than normal mass
heavy isotopes
2
: very hard to deal with : grievous
a heavy sorrow
3
: of weighty importance : serious
words heavy with meaning
4
: lacking life, gaiety, or charm : dull
5
6
: greater in volume, force, or power than the average
heavy traffic
heavy seas
heavy infantry
7
: overcast entry 2
a heavy sky
8
: laborious sense 2, labored
heavy breathing
9
: using or consuming much
a heavy eater
10
: rich and not easily digested
heavy desserts
11
: producing goods (as coal or steel) used in the production of other goods
heavy industry
heavily
ˈhev-ə-lē
adverb
heaviness
ˈhev-ē-nəs
noun

heavy

2 of 3 adverb
: in a heavy manner : heavily
time hung heavy on their hands

heavy

3 of 3 noun
plural heavies
1
2
a
: a theatrical role or an actor representing a dignified or impressive person

More from Merriam-Webster on heavy

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