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heaven

[hev-uh n]
noun
  1. the abode of God, the angels, and the spirits of the righteous after death; the place or state of existence of the blessed after the mortal life.
  2. (initial capital letter) Often Heavens. the celestial powers; God.
  3. a metonym for God: May heaven help us!
  4. heavens, (used with a singular verb) a wooden roof or canopy over the outer stage of an Elizabethan theater.
  5. Usually heavens. the sky, firmament, or expanse of space surrounding the earth.
  6. a place or state of supreme happiness: She made his life a heaven on earth.
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interjection
  1. heavens, (used to express emphasis, surprise, etc.): For heaven's sake! Good heavens!
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Idioms
  1. move heaven and earth, to do one's utmost to effect an end; make a supreme effort: She promised to move heaven and earth to be there for our wedding anniversary.
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Origin of heaven

before 900; Middle English heven, Old English heofon; cognate with Middle Low German heven; akin to Old Norse himinn, Gothic himins, German Himmel
Related formsheav·en·less, adjectiveun·der·heav·en, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for move heaven and earth

heaven

noun
  1. (sometimes capital) Christianity
    1. the abode of God and the angels
    2. a place or state of communion with God after deathCompare hell
  2. (usually plural) the sky, firmament or space surrounding the earth
  3. (in any of various mythologies) a place, such as Elysium or Valhalla, to which those who have died in the gods' favour are brought to dwell in happiness
  4. a place or state of joy and happiness
  5. (singular or plural; sometimes capital) God or the gods, used in exclamatory phrases of surprise, exasperation, etcfor heaven's sake; heavens above
  6. in seventh heaven ecstatically happy
  7. move heaven and earth to do everything possible (to achieve something)
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Word Origin

Old English heofon; related to Old Saxon heban
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 move heaven and earth

heaven

n.

Old English heofon "home of God," earlier "sky, firmament," probably from Proto-Germanic *hibin-, dissimilated from *himin- (cf. Low German heben, Old Norse himinn, Gothic himins, Old Frisian himul, Dutch hemel, German Himmel "heaven, sky"), perhaps from PIE root *kem-/*kam- "to cover" (cf. chemise). [Watkins derives it elaborately from PIE *ak- "sharp" via *akman- "stone, sharp stone," then "stony vault of heaven"].

Plural use in sense of "sky" is probably from Ptolemaic theory of space composed of many spheres, but it also formerly was used in the same sense as the singular in Biblical language, as a translation of Hebrew plural shamayim. Heaven-sent (adj.) attested from 1640s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

move heaven and earth in Culture

heaven

The dwelling place of God, the angels, and the souls of those who have gained salvation (see also salvation); a place of the greatest peace and beauty. (Compare hell.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with move heaven and earth

move heaven and earth

Exert the utmost effort, as in I'd move heaven and earth to get an apartment here. This hyperbolic expression was first recorded in 1792.

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heaven

In addition to the idioms beginning with heaven

  • heaven knows
  • heavenly days

also see:

  • for one's (heaven's) sake
  • god (heaven) forbid
  • god (heaven) knows
  • in seventh heaven
  • in the name of (heaven)
  • manna from heaven
  • move heaven and earth
  • pennies from heaven
  • seventh heaven
  • stink to high heaven
  • thank god (heaven)
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.