See more synonyms for heavy on Thesaurus.com
adjective, heav·i·er, heav·i·est.
  1. of great weight; hard to lift or carry: a heavy load.
  2. of great amount, quantity, or size; extremely large; massive: a heavy vote; a heavy snowfall.
  3. of great force, intensity, turbulence, etc.: a heavy sea.
  4. of more than the usual or average weight: a heavy person; heavy freight.
  5. having much weight in proportion to bulk; being of high specific gravity: a heavy metal.
  6. of major import; grave; serious: a heavy offense.
  7. deep or intense; profound: a heavy thinker; heavy slumber.
  8. Military.
    1. thickly armed or equipped with guns of large size.Compare heavy cruiser.
    2. (of guns) of the more powerful sizes: heavy weapons.Compare heavy artillery.
  9. hard to bear; burdensome; harsh; oppressive: heavy taxes.
  10. hard to cope with; trying; difficult: a heavy task.
  11. being as indicated to an unusually great degree: a heavy buyer.
  12. broad, thick, or coarse; not delicate: heavy lines drawn in charcoal.
  13. weighted or laden: air heavy with moisture.
  14. fraught; loaded; charged: words heavy with meaning.
  15. depressed with trouble or sorrow; showing sorrow; sad: a heavy heart.
  16. without vivacity or interest; ponderous; dull: a heavy style.
  17. slow in movement or action; clumsy: a heavy walk.
  18. loud and deep; sonorous: a heavy sound.
  19. (of the sky) overcast or cloudy.
  20. exceptionally dense in substance; insufficiently raised or leavened; thick: heavy doughnuts.
  21. (of food) not easily digested.
  22. being in a state of advanced pregnancy; nearing childbirth: heavy with child; heavy with young.
  23. having a large capacity, capable of doing rough work, or having a large output: a heavy truck.
  24. producing or refining basic materials, as steel or coal, used in manufacturing: heavy industry.
  25. sober, serious, or somber: a heavy part in a drama.
  26. Chemistry. of or relating to an isotope of greater than normal atomic weight, as heavy hydrogen or heavy oxygen, or to a compound containing such an element, as heavy water.
  27. Slang.
    1. very good; excellent.
    2. very serious or important: a really heavy relationship.
  28. Phonetics. (of a syllable)
    1. stressed(def 12).
    2. long1(def 22).
noun, plural heav·ies.
  1. a somber or ennobled theatrical role or character: Iago is the heavy in Othello.
  2. the theatrical role of a villain.
  3. an actor who plays a theatrical heavy.
  4. Military. a gun of great weight or large caliber.
  5. Slang. a very important or influential person: a reception for government heavies.
  1. heavily.

Origin of heavy

before 900; Middle English hevi, Old English hefig, equivalent to hef(e) weight (akin to heave) + -ig -y1
Related formsheav·i·ness, nouno·ver·heav·i·ness, nouno·ver·heav·y, adjectiveul·tra·heav·y, adjectiveun·heav·i·ness, nounun·heav·y, adjective

Synonyms for heavy

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. ponderous, massive, weighty. 5. dense. 9. onerous, grievous, cumbersome; difficult, severe. 14. Heavy, momentous, weighty refer to anything having a considerable amount of figurative weight. Heavy suggests the carrying of a figurative burden: words heavy with menace. Momentous emphasizes the idea of great and usually serious consequences: a momentous occasion, statement. Weighty, seldom used literally, refers to something heavy with importance, often concerned with public affairs, which may require deliberation and careful judgment: a weighty matter, problem. 15. gloomy, mournful, dejected, despondent, downcast, downhearted. 16. tedious, tiresome, wearisome, burdensome, boring. 17. sluggish, lumbering. 19. lowering, gloomy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for heaviness

density, mass, weight, thickness, denseness

Examples from the Web for heaviness

Contemporary Examples of heaviness

Historical Examples of heaviness

  • Some of the heaviness of his spirit always left him at sight of the little house.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • But, what with the heat and with heaviness of spirit, he did not notice her depression until he rose.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Life is pleasant enough to me; dull and full of heaviness to you.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • Mr. Quinn, when he was told of the heaviness of Henry's slumber, said "Let him lie on!"

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • These were only light spells of heaviness, replete with vague charm that calmed her nerves.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for heaviness


adjective heavier or heaviest
  1. of comparatively great weighta heavy stone
  2. having a relatively high densitylead is a heavy metal
  3. great in yield, quality, or quantityheavy rain; heavy traffic
  4. great or considerableheavy emphasis
  5. hard to bear, accomplish, or fulfilheavy demands
  6. sad or dejected in spirit or moodheavy at heart
  7. coarse or broada heavy line; heavy features
  8. (of soil) having a high clay content; cloggy
  9. solid or fatheavy legs
  10. (of an industry) engaged in the large-scale complex manufacture of capital goods or extraction of raw materialsCompare light 2 (def. 19)
  11. serious; grave
  12. military
    1. armed or equipped with large weapons, armour, etc
    2. (of guns, etc) of a large and powerful type
  13. (of a syllable) having stress or accentuationCompare light 2 (def. 24)
  14. dull and uninterestinga heavy style
  15. prodigiousa heavy drinker
  16. (of cakes, bread, etc) insufficiently leavened
  17. deep and louda heavy thud
  18. (of music, literature, etc)
    1. dramatic and powerful; grandiose
    2. not immediately comprehensible or appealing
  19. slang
    1. unpleasant or tedious
    2. wonderful
    3. (of rock music) having a powerful beat; hard
  20. weighted; burdenedheavy with child
  21. clumsy and slowheavy going
  22. permeatinga heavy smell
  23. cloudy or overcast, esp threatening rainheavy skies
  24. not easily digestiblea heavy meal
  25. (of an element or compound) being or containing an isotope with greater atomic weight than that of the naturally occurring elementheavy hydrogen; heavy water
  26. horse racing (of the going on a racecourse) soft and muddy
  27. slang using, or prepared to use, violence or brutalitythe heavy mob
  28. heavy on informal using large quantities ofthis car is heavy on petrol
noun plural heavies
    1. a villainous role
    2. an actor who plays such a part
  1. military
    1. a large fleet unit, esp an aircraft carrier or battleship
    2. a large calibre or weighty piece of artillery
  2. the heavies (usually plural) informal a serious newspaperthe Sunday heavies
  3. informal a heavyweight boxer, wrestler, etc
  4. slang a man hired to threaten violence or deter others by his presence
  5. Scot strong bitter beer
    1. in a heavy manner; heavilytime hangs heavy
    2. (in combination)heavy-laden
Derived Formsheavily, adverbheaviness, noun

Word Origin for heavy

Old English hefig; related to hebban to heave, Old High German hebīg
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 heaviness

Old English hefigness "heaviness, weight; burden, affliction; dullness, torpor;" see heavy + -ness.



mid-13c., "something heavy; heaviness," from heavy (adj.). Theatrical sense of "villain" is 1880.



Old English hefig "heavy, having much weight; important, grave; oppressive; slow, dull," from Proto-Germanic *hafiga "containing something; having weight" (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German hebig, Old Norse hofugr, Middle Dutch hevich, Dutch hevig), from PIE *kap- "to grasp" (see capable). Jazz slang sense of "profound, serious" is from 1937 but would have been comprehensible to an Anglo-Saxon. Heavy industry recorded from 1932. Heavy metal attested by 1839 in chemistry; in nautical jargon from at least 1744 in sense "large-caliber guns on a ship.

While we undervalue the nicely-balanced weight of broadsides which have lately been brought forward with all the grave precision of Cocker, we are well aware of the decided advantages of heavy metal. ["United Services Journal," London, 1830]

As a type of rock music, from 1972.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with heaviness


In addition to the idioms beginning with heavy

  • heavy going
  • heavy hand, with a
  • heavy heart, with a
  • heavy hitter

also see:

  • hot and heavy
  • make heavy weather of
  • play the heavy
  • time hangs heavy
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.