Uriah Heep

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/ hip /
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the hypocritical and villainous clerk in Dickens' David Copperfield.
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Words nearby Uriah Heep

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


Who is Uriah Heep?

Uriah Heep is a hypocritical and evil character in Charles Dickens‘s novel David Copperfield.

In David Copperfield, Uriah Heep acts humble and friendly in order to gain favor with several characters in the novel, only to steal their money and property. David and two others confront Uriah, letting him go free if he gives back what he has stolen. Later, David sees Uriah again, who is now in prison and about to be deported. Despite this, Uriah is still manipulating people to get his own way.

You may hear someone being called a Uriah Heep to indicate that they are being sneaky, shady, or untruthful. This is most commonly used as an insult, though this is less common than it once was.

Uriah Heep is also the name of an English rock-’n’-roll band, formed in 1969. The band’s most popular songs are “Easy Livin’,” “Lady in Black,” “Stealin’,” and “The Wizard.”

Example: Stay away from that guy; he’s a real Uriah Heep.

Where does Uriah Heep come from?

The first records of Uriah Heep are from the mid-1800s when David Copperfield was first published. The band Uriah Heep was formed in 1969.

David Copperfield tells a story of the life of David Copperfield, from childhood, when he becomes orphaned, to adulthood. When David runs away from his abusive home, he is enrolled in a boarding school where he meets Uriah Heep. Uriah is one of the main antagonists in the story, showing up frequently and causing drama or strife, often to gain influence or money. Despite all that happens to him, Uriah fails to change and become an honest person.

The band Uriah Heep, named after Dickens’s character, was formed in 1969 by Mick Box, David Byron, Paul Newton, Ken Hensley, and Alex Napier. Over the decades, almost every member of the band has been replaced multiple times, with Mick Box being the only remaining member of the original band’s composition.

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What are some synonyms for Uriah Heep?

What are some words that often get used in discussing Uriah Heep?

How is Uriah Heep used in real life?

Calling someone Uriah Heep as an insult is somewhat outdated. More often, the term refers to the rock band.


Try using Uriah Heep!

True or False?

The character Uriah Heep was the hero of the novel David Copperfield.