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[hev-ee-han-did] /ˈhɛv iˈhæn dɪd/
oppressive; harsh:
a heavy-handed master.
clumsy; graceless:
a heavy-handed treatment of the theme.
Origin of heavy-handed
Related forms
heavy-handedly, adverb
heavy-handedness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for heavy-handed
  • Nevertheless, many complain that he has been heavy-handed.
  • The controversy adds yet another twist to an investigation that has been described as heavy-handed and excessive.
  • Even more specifically, it is an allegory, though not a heavy-handed one.
  • Stories abound of boards or individual members who have engaged in heavy-handed attempts to dictate direction or priorities.
  • OK, it is not an epic breakthrough for all of us who have come to dread heavy-handed airport security personnel.
  • The song's got a bit of a message, without being preachy or heavy-handed.
  • All the same, the state seems too keen to use heavy-handed regulation.
  • Some of the curator's choices seem a bit odd and the written descriptions, which add little, are occasionally heavy-handed.
  • But critics see it as part of a heavy-handed pattern.
  • The signatories are betting that this way they will prevent heavy-handed regulation from stifling their field.
British Dictionary definitions for heavy-handed


harsh and oppressive
Derived Forms
heavy-handedly, adverb
heavy-handedness, noun
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 heavy-handed

also heavyhanded, 1630s, originally "weary" or "clumsy;" from heavy (adj.) + handed. Sense of "overbearing" is first recorded 1883.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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