dead weight

the heavy, unrelieved weight of anything inert: The dead weight of the bear's body was over 300 pounds.
a heavy or oppressive burden or responsibility.
the weight of a railroad car, truck, etc., as distinct from its load or contents.
Also, deadweight.

1650–60 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dead weight
1.  a heavy weight or load
2.  an oppressive burden; encumbrance
3.  the difference between the loaded and the unloaded weights of a ship
4.  another name for dead load
5.  (in shipping) freight chargeable by weight rather than by bulk

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1650s, "weight of an inert body," from dead + weight.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for deadweight
The deadweight cost is dependent on the elasticity of supply and demand for a good.
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