- 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
Examples from the Web for deadweight
Access to credit can be a great thing, but it can also become a deadweight around your neck.Dirty Debt, Done Dirt Cheap
October 9, 2013
Similarly, consider Joel Waldfogel's AER article "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas" (which he later adapted into Scroogenomics).How Terrible Is Christmas?
December 26, 2012
After all, excessive holiday spending results in what economists refer to a “deadweight loss.”6 Secrets of Perfect Gift Giving
November 26, 2009
Yet the power (so defined as horse-power) required to raise a deadweight of 20 lbs.Unexplored Spain
Blindly, I felt for the buttons on my dress, and buttoning I sank back in sleep again—the deadweight sleep of utter exhaustion.Hungry Hearts
It was the sudden release of both the keel and deadweight of the projectile that had caused R19 to shoot up to the surface.A Sub and a Submarine
Percy F. Westerman
The remainder were freighters, averaging about 5,000 deadweight tons each.Area Handbook for Romania
Eugene K. Keefe, Donald W. Bernier, Lyle E. Brenneman, William Giloane, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole
- 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
Word Origin and History for deadweight
Idioms and Phrases with deadweight
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]