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[heev] /hiv/
verb (used with object), heaved or (especially Nautical) hove; heaving.
to raise or lift with effort or force; hoist:
to heave a heavy ax.
to throw, especially to lift and throw with effort, force, or violence:
to heave an anchor overboard; to heave a stone through a window.
  1. to move into a certain position or situation:
    to heave a vessel aback.
  2. to move in a certain direction:
    Heave the capstan around! Heave up the anchor!
to utter laboriously or painfully:
to heave a sigh.
to cause to rise and fall with or as with a swelling motion:
to heave one's chest.
to vomit; throw up:
He heaved his breakfast before noon.
to haul or pull on (a rope, cable, line, etc.), as with the hands or a capstan:
Heave the anchor cable!
verb (used without object), heaved or (especially Nautical) hove; heaving.
to rise and fall in rhythmically alternate movements:
The ship heaved and rolled in the swelling sea.
to breathe with effort; pant:
He sat there heaving and puffing from the effort.
to vomit; retch.
to rise as if thrust up, as a hill; swell or bulge:
The ground heaved and small fissures appeared for miles around.
to pull or haul on a rope, cable, etc.
to push, as on a capstan bar.
  1. to move in a certain direction or into a certain position or situation:
    heave about; heave alongside; heave in stays.
  2. (of a vessel) to rise and fall, as with a heavy beam sea.
an act or effort of heaving.
a throw, toss, or cast.
Geology. the horizontal component of the apparent displacement resulting from a fault, measured in a vertical plane perpendicular to the strike.
the rise and fall of the waves or swell of a sea.
heaves, (used with a singular verb). Also called broken wind. Veterinary Pathology. a disease of horses, similar to asthma in human beings, characterized by difficult breathing.
Verb phrases
heave down, Nautical. to careen (a vessel).
heave out, Nautical.
  1. to shake loose (a reef taken in a sail).
  2. to loosen (a sail) from its gaskets in order to set it.
heave to,
  1. Nautical. to stop the headway of (a vessel), especially by bringing the head to the wind and trimming the sails so that they act against one another.
  2. to come to a halt.
heave ho, (an exclamation used by sailors, as when heaving the anchor up.)
heave in sight, to rise to view, as from below the horizon:
The ship hove in sight as dawn began to break.
heave the lead. lead2 (def 16).
Origin of heave
before 900; Middle English heven, variant (with -v- from simple past tense and past participle) of hebben, Old English hebban; cognate with German heben, Old Norse hefja, Gothic hafjan; akin to Latin capere to take
Related forms
heaver, noun
heaveless, adjective
unheaved, adjective
1. elevate. See raise. 2. hurl, pitch, fling, cast, sling. 11. surge, billow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for heave
  • Cycles of thawing and freezing can heave those plants right out of the ground.
  • Video footage from the sea floor showed the sinuous heave of oil into the sea weakening as the mud was pumped in.
  • The sudden movement along the fault causes the ground to move forward and backward, heave up and down, or shift from side to side.
  • At the last minute, two bipartisan approaches heave into view.
  • The collapse of authoritarian regimes gave the process another heave.
  • We listened to the music of vast silences near the top of the world, and felt the heave and subsidence of the sea.
  • We could heave an end-of-sitcom sigh, run the closing credits and mount the color bars for good.
  • The rocks heave up out of the landscape, then roll off as far as the eye can see.
  • Everywhere the countryside is being gouged open as workers heave some new project into being.
  • But by then my family will have become flotsam caught in the heave and thrust of its tide.
British Dictionary definitions for heave


verb heaves, heaving, heaved (mainly nautical) hove
(transitive) to lift or move with a great effort
(transitive) to throw (something heavy) with effort
to utter (sounds, sighs, etc) or breathe noisily or unhappily: to heave a sigh
to rise and fall or cause to rise and fall heavily
(past tense and past participle hove) (nautical)
  1. to move or cause to move in a specified way, direction, or position: to heave in sight
  2. (intransitive) (of a vessel) to pitch or roll
(transitive) to displace (rock strata, mineral veins, etc) in a horizontal direction
(intransitive) to retch
the act or an instance of heaving
a fling
the horizontal displacement of rock strata at a fault
Derived Forms
heaver, noun
Word Origin
Old English hebban; related to Old Norse hefja, Old Saxon hebbian, Old High German heffen to raise, Latin capere to take, Sanskrit kapatī two hands full
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
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Word Origin and History for heave

Old English hebban "to lift, raise; lift up, exalt" (class VI strong verb; past tense hof, past participle hafen), from Proto-Germanic *hafjan (cf. Old Norse hefja, Dutch heffen, German heben, Gothic hafjan "to lift, raise"), from PIE *kap-yo-, from root *kap- "to grasp" (see capable).

Related to Old English habban "to hold, possess." Intransitive use by c.1200. Meaning "to throw" is from 1590s. Sense of "retch, make an effort to vomit" is first attested c.1600. Related: Heaved; heaving. Nautical heave-ho was a chant in lifting (c.1300, hevelow).


1570s, from heave (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for heave



A shelter: Heave. Any shelter used by a policeman to avoid the elements (1950s+ Police)


To vomit; barf (1868+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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