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See more synonyms for heavy-handed on Thesaurus.com
  1. oppressive; harsh: a heavy-handed master.
  2. clumsy; graceless: a heavy-handed treatment of the theme.
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Origin of heavy-handed

First recorded in 1625–35
Related formsheav·y-hand·ed·ly, adverbheav·y-hand·ed·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for heavy-handed

coercive, cruel, harsh, oppressive, clumsy, inept, severe, graceless, unskillful, bumbling

Examples from the Web for heavy-handed

Contemporary Examples of heavy-handed

Historical Examples of heavy-handed

British Dictionary definitions for heavy-handed


  1. clumsy
  2. harsh and oppressive
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Derived Formsheavy-handedly, adverbheavy-handedness, noun
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 heavy-handed


also heavyhanded, 1630s, originally "weary" or "clumsy;" from heavy (adj.) + handed. Sense of "overbearing" is first recorded 1883.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper