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makeweight

[meyk-weyt]
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noun
  1. something put in a scale to complete a required weight.
  2. anything added to supply a lack.

Origin of makeweight

First recorded in 1685–95; make1 + weight
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for makeweight

Historical Examples

  • "I'll throw in two for makeweight," said the woman with her good-natured look.

    A Little Princess

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • They are men of prudence, and persuade E. to go with them, as a makeweight.

  • Into scales of doubt, equally balanced, he should be ready to throw his lyre, as a makeweight.

  • They will all wish to make of us a makeweight candle, when they are making out their pounds.

  • It didn't really matter; his respectability seemed more than a makeweight for slighted syntax.

    A Likely Story

    William De Morgan


British Dictionary definitions for makeweight

makeweight

noun
  1. something put on a scale to make up a required weight
  2. an unimportant person or thing added to make up a lack
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

Word Origin and History for makeweight

n.

also make-weight, 1690s, "small quantity of something added to make the total reach a certain weight," from make (v.) + weight.

MAKE WEIGHT. A small candle: a term applied to a little slender man. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper