noun Informal.

an act of rejection, dismissal, or forcible ejection: The bartender gave the noisy drunk the old heave-ho.

Origin of heave-ho

noun use of phrase heave ho, Middle English havehou, hevelow



verb (used with object), heaved or (especially Nautical) hove; heav·ing.

to raise or lift with effort or force; hoist: to heave a heavy ax.
to throw, especially to lift and throw with effort, force, or violence: to heave an anchor overboard; to heave a stone through a window.
  1. to move into a certain position or situation: to heave a vessel aback.
  2. to move in a certain direction: Heave the capstan around! Heave up the anchor!
to utter laboriously or painfully: to heave a sigh.
to cause to rise and fall with or as with a swelling motion: to heave one's chest.
to vomit; throw up: He heaved his breakfast before noon.
to haul or pull on (a rope, cable, line, etc.), as with the hands or a capstan: Heave the anchor cable!

verb (used without object), heaved or (especially Nautical) hove; heav·ing.

to rise and fall in rhythmically alternate movements: The ship heaved and rolled in the swelling sea.
to breathe with effort; pant: He sat there heaving and puffing from the effort.
to vomit; retch.
to rise as if thrust up, as a hill; swell or bulge: The ground heaved and small fissures appeared for miles around.
to pull or haul on a rope, cable, etc.
to push, as on a capstan bar.
  1. to move in a certain direction or into a certain position or situation: heave about; heave alongside; heave in stays.
  2. (of a vessel) to rise and fall, as with a heavy beam sea.


an act or effort of heaving.
a throw, toss, or cast.
Geology. the horizontal component of the apparent displacement resulting from a fault, measured in a vertical plane perpendicular to the strike.
the rise and fall of the waves or swell of a sea.
heaves, (used with a singular verb) Also called broken wind. Veterinary Pathology. a disease of horses, similar to asthma in human beings, characterized by difficult breathing.

Verb Phrases

heave down, Nautical. to careen (a vessel).
heave out, Nautical.
  1. to shake loose (a reef taken in a sail).
  2. to loosen (a sail) from its gaskets in order to set it.
heave to,
  1. Nautical.to stop the headway of (a vessel), especially by bringing the head to the wind and trimming the sails so that they act against one another.
  2. to come to a halt.

Origin of heave

before 900; Middle English heven, variant (with -v- from simple past tense and past participle) of hebben, Old English hebban; cognate with German heben, Old Norse hefja, Gothic hafjan; akin to Latin capere to take
Related formsheav·er, nounheave·less, adjectiveun·heaved, adjective

Synonyms for heave

1. elevate. See raise. 2. hurl, pitch, fling, cast, sling. 11. surge, billow.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for heave ho


sentence substitute

a sailors' cry, as when hoisting anchor


informal dismissal, as from employment


verb heaves, heaving or heaved or mainly nautical hove

(tr) to lift or move with a great effort
(tr) to throw (something heavy) with effort
to utter (sounds, sighs, etc) or breathe noisily or unhappilyto heave a sigh
to rise and fall or cause to rise and fall heavily
(past tense and past participle hove) nautical
  1. to move or cause to move in a specified way, direction, or positionto heave in sight
  2. (intr)(of a vessel) to pitch or roll
(tr) to displace (rock strata, mineral veins, etc) in a horizontal direction
(intr) to retch


the act or an instance of heaving
a fling
the horizontal displacement of rock strata at a fault
Derived Formsheaver, noun

Word Origin for heave

Old English hebban; related to Old Norse hefja, Old Saxon hebbian, Old High German heffen to raise, Latin capere to take, Sanskrit kapatī two hands full
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 heave ho



1570s, from heave (v.).



Old English hebban "to lift, raise; lift up, exalt" (class VI strong verb; past tense hof, past participle hafen), from Proto-Germanic *hafjan (cf. Old Norse hefja, Dutch heffen, German heben, Gothic hafjan "to lift, raise"), from PIE *kap-yo-, from root *kap- "to grasp" (see capable).

Related to Old English habban "to hold, possess." Intransitive use by c.1200. Meaning "to throw" is from 1590s. Sense of "retch, make an effort to vomit" is first attested c.1600. Related: Heaved; heaving. Nautical heave-ho was a chant in lifting (c.1300, hevelow).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper