heavy - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    a heavy object weighs a lot

    She was struggling with a heavy suitcase.

    Careful – that box is pretty heavy.

    You should soon be able to train with the heavier weights.

    a big heavy door

    too heavy:

    He was a big man, too heavy for the nurses to lift.

    1. a.
      used when talking about how much someone or something weighs

      The bag was heavier than I’d expected.

      how heavy?:

      How heavy is the box?

  2. 2
    used for saying that there is a lot of something

    Traffic is particularly heavy on the M5 tonight.

    He had a very heavy workload.

    heavy rain/snow:

    Weather conditions were appalling, with heavy rain and strong winds.

    heavy reliance on:

    Her book shows a heavy reliance on the work of Dr Winston.

    1. a.
      used for saying that something involves a lot of people, things, or money
      heavy casualties:

      The conflict caused heavy casualties on both sides.

      heavy losses:

      The company’s heavy losses will lead to many redundancies.

    2. b.
      informal using or containing a lot of something
      heavy on:

      The main course was a bit heavy on the garlic.

    3. c.
      mainly literary containing a lot of something
      heavy with:

      Her voice was heavy with sarcasm.

      The air was heavy with all the scents of summer.

      The trees were heavy with blossom.

  3. 3
    very severe

    She’s paid a heavy price for her stupidity.

    heavy cold:

    He’s got a heavy cold and is feeling terrible.

    heavy load/burden/responsibility etc:

    Her sadness was a heavy burden for him to bear.

  4. 4
    using a lot of bombs, guns, or other weapons

    Industrial areas came under heavy bombardment.

    reports of heavy air strikes on the capital

    heavy fighting:

    Heavy fighting erupted yesterday.

    1. a.
      a heavy blow is done with a lot of physical force

      He received a heavy blow to the head.

    2. b.
      involving a strong force, especially in a downwards direction
      heavy fall:

      Her father’s had a heavy fall.

      heavy footsteps/tread:

      She could hear Bill’s heavy footsteps upstairs.

      heavy sigh:

      His mother gave a heavy sigh of disapproval.

  5. 5
    involving a lot of physical effort

    They did most of the heavy work in the morning.

    The steering on this car is much heavier than on the other one.

  6. 6
    informal serious and difficult

    I found his new book a bit heavy.

    Her speech was heavy stuff, with references to philosophy and psychology.

    1. a.
      a heavy situation or relationship is serious and often not enjoyable

      She felt their relationship was getting too heavy.

      I don’t want any heavy stuff (=anything serious or complicated).

    2. b.
      informal serious and threatening

      Things were getting a bit heavy, so I scarpered!

  7. 7
    a heavy silence is not comfortable because there is a feeling of anger between people
  8. 8
    used about things that look ugly because they are big
    heavy features (=large mouth, eyes, and nose):

    He was a tall dark man, with heavy features.

    1. a.
      used about a way of moving that is slow and not graceful

      He broke into a heavy loping run.

  9. 10
    if the air is heavy, it is warm in a sticky unpleasant way, especially before rain or a storm
  10. 11
    mainly literary if the sky is heavy, or the clouds are heavy, the sky is dark and it looks as though it will rain
  11. 12
    mainly literary a heavy sea is rough with big waves

    The ship went down in heavy seas off the coast of Norway.

  12. 13
    food that is heavy is rather solid and not enjoyable
    1. a.
      a heavy meal is a little too large and you seem to feel it in your stomach for a long time after you have eaten it
  13. 14
    ground that is heavy is wet and muddy, so that it is difficult to walk or travel over it
  14. 15
    if a part of your body feels heavy, it is not comfortable and you cannot move it easily

    His legs felt heavy as concrete.

  15. 16
    mainly literary if your heart is heavy, you feel sad

    He went away with a heavy heart.

  16. 17
    a heavy noise is deep and low

    There was a heavy thud as his body hit the floor.

derived word



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noun [uncountable]