Etymology: Middle English hevy, from Old English hefig; akin to Old High German hebīc heavy, Old English hebban to lift — more at heave
Date: before 12th century
a. having great weight; also characterized by mass or weight <how heavy is it?> b. having a high specific gravity ; having great weight in proportion to bulk c. (1) of an isotope having or being atoms of greater than normal mass for that element (2) of a compound containing heavy isotopes 2. hard to bear; specifically grievous, afflictive <a heavy sorrow> 3. of weighty import ; serious <heavy consequences> 4. deep, profound <a heavy silence> 5. a. borne down by something oppressive ; burdened b. pregnant; especially approaching parturition 6. a. slow or dull from loss of vitality or resiliency ; sluggish <a tired heavy step> b. lacking sparkle or vivacity ; drab c. lacking mirth or gaiety ; doleful d. characterized by declining prices 7. dulled with weariness ; drowsy 8. greater in quantity or quality than the average of its kind or class: as a. of unusually large size or amount <a heavy turnout> <heavy traffic> b. of great force <heavy seas> c. threatening to rain or snow d. (1) impeding motion (2) full of clay and inclined to hold water e. coming as if from a depth ; loud <heavy breathing> f. thick, coarse <heavy syrup> g. oppressive <a heavy odor> <heavy weather> <rule with a heavy hand> h. steep, acute i. laborious, difficult <heavy going> j. immoderate <a heavy smoker> k. more powerful than usual for its kind <a heavy cavalry> <a heavy cruiser> l. of large capacity or output 9. a. very rich and hard to digest <heavy desserts> b. not properly raised or leavened <heavy bread> 10. producing goods (as coal, steel, or chemicals) used in the production of other goods <heavy industry> 11. a. having stress <a heavy rhythm> — used especially of syllables in accentual verse b. being the strongest degree of stress in speech 12. relating to theatrical parts of a grave or somber nature 13. long 9 <heavy on ideas> 14. important, prominent <a heavy politician> • heaviness noun Synonyms: heavy, weighty, ponderous, cumbrous, cumbersome mean having great weight. heavy implies that something has greater density or thickness than the average of its kind or class <a heavy child for his age>. weighty suggests having actual and not just relative weight <a load of weighty boxes>. ponderous implies having great weight because of size and massiveness with resulting great inertia <ponderous elephants in a circus parade>. cumbrous and cumbersome imply heaviness and bulkiness that make for difficulty in grasping, moving, carrying, or manipulating <wrestled with the cumbrous furniture> <early cameras were cumbersome and inconvenient>. II. adverb Date: before 12th century in a heavy manner ; heavily III. noun (plural heavies) Date: 1897 1. heavyweight 2 2. a. a theatrical role of a dignified or somber character; also an actor playing such a role b. villain 4 c. villain 5 d. someone or something influential, serious, or important e. elite 1b
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.