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 hefting

Historical Examples of hefting

  • He raised it, examining and hefting it with the judgment of an expert.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • "Should think you were," mused the Colonel, hefting the lightened vessel.

  • Well, two pounds easily, answered Old Crusty, shutting one eye and hefting his troutship knowingly.

    The Arrival of Jimpson

    Ralph Henry Barbour

  • He hitched the horse, and hefting the insensible man in his arms, staggered blindly into the timber.

    When 'Bear Cat' Went Dry

    Charles Neville Buck

  • Hefting it in his hand, and then swinging it about his head, Phil discovered that he had a weapon that would almost fell an ox.

British Dictionary definitions for hefting


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 hefting



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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper