weight; heaviness: It was a rather flimsy chair, without much heft to it.
significance or importance.
Archaic. the bulk or main part.

verb (used with object)

to test the weight of by lifting and balancing: He hefted the spear for a few moments, and then flung it at the foe.
to heave; hoist.

Origin of heft

1550–60; heave + -t, variant of -th1
Related formsheft·er, nounun·heft·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heft

Contemporary Examples of heft

  • Its heft may scare away some casual readers, but Rough Country is surprisingly accessible.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Religion Turned Texas Red

    William O’Connor

    August 20, 2014

  • In a room off the living room, saddles lounge everywhere you look, finely tooled leather saddles, things of great weight and heft.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Death of a Rodeo Cowboy

    Peter Richmond

    May 11, 2014

  • The Daily Pic: 1930s paint samples help Morgan Fisher get at abstraction's heft.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Tinted Love

    Blake Gopnik

    October 4, 2013

  • Despite its heft, The Hobbit opened last weekend to an impressive $84.8 million, a new December record.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why Are 2012’s Holiday Movies So Damn Long?

    Ramin Setoodeh

    December 17, 2012

  • The Daily Pic: In 1978, Daniel Joseph Martinez made shadows have heft.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Photography's Heavy Lifting

    Blake Gopnik

    October 17, 2012

Historical Examples of heft

  • An' I'll be whipped if 'Mandy herself didn't tell the heft on't arter 'twas all over.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • I gathered that the heft of his spare change had come from dickers in stocks and bonds.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I'd told him the heft of the yarn on the way from the church, and he was interested.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "I spend the heft of my daytimes out in the Back yard," he wrote.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • They haven't any more business sense than a hen, the heft of 'em ain't.

    Galusha the Magnificent

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for heft


verb (tr)

to assess the weight of (something) by lifting
to lift


US weight
US the main part
Derived Formshefter, noun

Word Origin for heft

C19: probably from heave, by analogy with thieve, theft, cleave, cleft
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 heft

mid-15c., "weight, heaviness, quality of weight," from heave on analogy of thieve/theft, weave/weft, etc.; also influenced by heft, obsolete past participle of heave.


"to lift," 1660s, from heft (n.). Related: Hefted; hefting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper