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dead weight

or deadweight

the heavy, unrelieved weight of anything inert:
The dead weight of the bear's body was over 300 pounds.
a heavy or oppressive burden or responsibility.
the weight of a railroad car, truck, etc., as distinct from its load or contents.
Origin of dead weight
First recorded in 1650-60 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dead weight
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You will find that I shall be of no use to you—that I shall be a dead weight on your hands.

  • The weight which had crushed the bush down had been a prone, dead weight.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • And why drag this dead weight of a Sunday-school over the whole Christendom?

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Between us the dead weight didn't seem too intolerable—not at first.

    The Man the Martians Made Frank Belknap Long
  • So he left her, and went home with a dead weight at his heart.

    Audrey Craven May Sinclair
  • It was as the lifting of a dead weight which had crushed her heart within her.

    The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum
  • Sol struggled towards the house with her dead weight on his leg.

    Dream Town Henry Slesar
British Dictionary definitions for dead weight

dead weight

a heavy weight or load
an oppressive burden; encumbrance
the difference between the loaded and the unloaded weights of a ship
another name for dead load
(in shipping) freight chargeable by weight rather than by bulk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with dead weight

dead weight

A heavy or oppressive burden, as in That police record will be a dead weight on his career. This term alludes to the unrelieved weight of an inert mass. [ Early 1700s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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