heave ho (an exclamation used by sailors, as when heaving the anchor up.)
    heave in sight, to rise to view, as from below the horizon: The ship hove in sight as dawn began to break.
    heave the lead. lead2(def 16).

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heaves

Historical Examples of heaves

  • He wears the look of one who is gnawed with envy, and he heaves the sigh of despair.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • And then I only had him for the heaves—for the horse—a horse doctor, I mean.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Suddenly the sea of blood which is me heaves and rushes towards the sea of blood which is her.

  • Go down to the berth again, and say that we will call you when it heaves in sight.

    The Three Midshipmen

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • Sir Asinus heaves a sigh, and contemplates a declaration immediately.

British Dictionary definitions for heaves


noun (functioning as singular or plural)

Also called: broken wind a chronic respiratory disorder of animals of the horse family caused by allergies and dust
the heaves slang an attack of vomiting or retching


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 heaves



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