[ heet ]
See synonyms for: heatheatedheating on Thesaurus.com

  1. the state of a body perceived as having or generating a relatively high degree of warmth.

  2. the condition or quality of being hot: the heat of an oven.

  1. the degree of hotness; temperature: moderate heat.

  2. the sensation of warmth or hotness: unpleasant heat.

  3. a bodily temperature higher than normal: the heat of a fever; the feeling of heat caused by physical exertion.

  4. added or external energy that causes a rise in temperature, expansion, evaporation, or other physical change.

  5. Physics. a nonmechanical energy transfer with reference to a temperature difference between a system and its surroundings or between two parts of the same system. Symbol: Q

  6. a hot condition of the atmosphere or physical environment; hot season or weather.

  7. a period of hot weather.

  8. a sharp, pungent flavor, as that produced by strong spices.

  9. warmth or intensity of feeling; vehemence; passion: He spoke with much heat and at great length.

  10. maximum intensity in an activity, condition, etc.; the height of any action, situation, or the like: the heat of battle; the heat of passion.

  11. extreme pressure, as of events, resulting in tension or strain: In the heat of his hasty departure he forgot his keys.

  12. a single intense effort; a sustained, concentrated, and continuous operation: The painting was finished at a heat.

  13. Slang. intensified pressure, especially in a police investigation.

  14. Slang. the police.

  15. Slang. armed protection, especially a pistol, revolver, or other firearm: All guards carry some heat.

  16. Sports.

    • a single course in or division of a race or other contest.

    • a race or other contest in which competitors attempt to qualify for entry in the final race or contest.

  17. Metallurgy.

    • a single operation of heating, as of metal in a furnace, in the treating and melting of metals.

    • a quantity of metal produced by such an operation.

  18. Zoology.

    • sexual receptiveness in animals, especially females.

    • the period or duration of such receptiveness: to be in heat.

verb (used with object)
  1. to make hot or warm (often followed by up).

  2. to excite emotionally; inflame or rouse with passion.

verb (used without object)
  1. to become hot or warm (often followed by up).

  2. to become excited emotionally.

Verb Phrases
  1. heat up, to increase or become more active or intense: Business competition will heat up toward the end of the year.

Origin of heat

First recorded before 900; Middle English hete, Old English hǣtu; akin to German Hitze; see hot

Other words for heat

Opposites for heat

Other words from heat

  • heat·a·ble, adjective
  • heatful, adjective
  • heatless, adjective
  • heatlike, adjective
  • re·heat, verb
  • re·heat·a·ble, adjective
  • self-heating, adjective
  • un·der·heat, verb (used with object)
  • un·heat·a·ble, adjective

Words Nearby heat

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use heat in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for heat


/ (hiːt) /

  1. : Related adjectives: thermal, calorific

    • the energy transferred as a result of a difference in temperature

    • the random kinetic energy of the atoms, molecules, or ions in a substance or body

  2. the sensation caused in the body by heat energy; warmth

  1. the state or quality of being hot

  2. hot weather: the heat of summer

  3. intensity of feeling; passion: the heat of rage

  4. pressure: the political heat on the government over the economy

  5. the most intense or active part: the heat of the battle

  6. a period or condition of sexual excitement in female mammals that occurs at oestrus

  7. sport

    • a preliminary eliminating contest in a competition

    • a single section of a contest

  8. slang police activity after a crime: the heat is off

  9. mainly US slang criticism or abuse: he took a lot of heat for that mistake

  10. in the heat of the moment without pausing to think

  11. on heat or in heat

    • Also: in season (of some female mammals) sexually receptive

    • in a state of sexual excitement

  12. the heat slang the police

  13. turn up the heat or turn on the heat informal to increase the intensity of activity, coercion, etc

  1. to make or become hot or warm

  2. to make or become excited or intense

Origin of heat

Old English hǣtu; related to hāt hot, Old Frisian hēte heat, Old High German heizī

Derived forms of heat

  • heatless, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for heat


[ hēt ]

  1. Internal energy that is transferred to a physical system from outside the system because of a difference in temperature and does not result in work done by the system on its surroundings. Absorption of energy by a system as heat takes the form of increased kinetic energy of its molecules, thus resulting in an increase in temperature of the system. Heat is transferred from one system to another in the direction of higher to lower temperature. See also thermodynamics. See Note at temperature.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for heat


In physics, a form of energy associated with the movement of atoms and molecules in any material. The higher the temperature of a material, the faster the atoms are moving, and hence the greater the amount of energy present as heat. (See infrared radiation.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with heat


In addition to the idioms beginning with heat

  • heat up

also see:

  • dead heat
  • in heat
  • in the heat of the moment
  • turn up the heat

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.