heavy vs ponderous what difference

what is difference between heavy and ponderous


Etymology 1

From Middle English hevy, heviȝ, from Old English hefiġ, hefeġ, hæfiġ (heavy; important, grave, severe, serious; oppressive, grievous; slow, dull), from Proto-West Germanic *habīg (heavy, hefty, weighty), from Proto-Germanic *habīgaz (heavy, hefty, weighty), from Proto-Indo-European *keh₂p- (to take, grasp, hold).


  • enPR: hevʹi
  • (Received Pronunciation, General American) IPA(key): /ˈhɛ.vi/
  • (General Australian, General New Zealand) IPA(key): /ˈhe.vi/
  • Rhymes: -ɛvi


heavy (comparative heavier, superlative heaviest)

  1. (of a physical object) Having great weight.
  2. (of a topic) Serious, somber.
  3. Not easy to bear; burdensome; oppressive.
    • The hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod.
    • 1814, William Wordsworth, The Excursion
      Sent hither by my Husband to impart the heavy news.
  4. (Britain, slang, dated) Good.
  5. (dated, late 1960s, 1970s, US) Profound.
  6. (of a rate of flow) High, great.
    • 1998, Stanley George Clayton, “”Menstruation” in Encyclopedia Britannica
      The ovarian response to gonadotropic hormones may be erratic at first, so that irregular or heavy bleeding sometimes occurs
  7. (slang) Armed.
  8. (music) Louder, more distorted.
  9. (of weather) Hot and humid.
  10. (of a person) Doing the specified activity more intensely than most other people.
  11. (of food) High in fat or protein; difficult to digest.
  12. Of great force, power, or intensity; deep or intense.
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot Chapter IV
      The surf was not heavy, and there was no undertow, so we made shore easily, effecting an equally easy landing.
  13. Laden to a great extent.
  14. Laden with that which is weighty; encumbered; burdened; bowed down, either with an actual burden, or with grief, pain, disappointment, etc.
    • 1613, William Browne, Britannia’s Pastorals
      Seating himselfe within a darkesome cave, / (Such places heavy Saturnists doe crave,) / Where yet the gladsome day was never seene []
  15. Slow; sluggish; inactive; or lifeless, dull, inanimate, stupid.
    • a heavy, dull, degenerate mind
    • Neither [is] his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.
  16. Impeding motion; cloggy; clayey.
    a heavy road; a heavy soil
  17. Not raised or leavened.
  18. (of wines or spirits) Having much body or strength.
  19. (obsolete) With child; pregnant.
  20. (physics) Containing one or more isotopes that are heavier than the normal one.
  21. (petroleum) Having high viscosity.
  • sweer/swear
  • light
Derived terms

Pages starting with “heavy”.

Related terms
  • heave
  • heft


heavy (comparative more heavy, superlative most heavy)

  1. In a heavy manner; weightily; heavily; gravely.
    heavy laden with their sins
  2. (colloquial, nonstandard) To a great degree; greatly.
  3. (India, colloquial) very
Derived terms
  • hang heavy
  • heavy-laden


heavy (plural heavies or heavys)

  1. A villain or bad guy; the one responsible for evil or aggressive acts.
    With his wrinkled, uneven face, the actor always seemed to play the heavy in films.
  2. (slang) A doorman, bouncer or bodyguard.
    A fight started outside the bar but the heavies came out and stopped it.
  3. (journalism, slang, chiefly in the plural) A newspaper of the quality press.
    • 1973, Allen Hutt, The changing newspaper (page 151)
      The comment may be offered here that the ‘heavies’ have been the Design Award’s principal scorers, both in the overall bronze plaque days and, since, in the Daily/Sunday Class 1.
    • 2006, Richard Keeble, The Newspapers Handbook
      Reviewers in the heavies aim to impress with the depth of their knowledge and appreciation.
  4. (Should we move, merge or split(+) this sense?) (aviation) A large multi-engined aircraft. (The term heavy normally follows the call-sign when used by air traffic controllers.)
Derived terms
  • brain heavy
  • dog heavy


heavy (third-person singular simple present heavies, present participle heavying, simple past and past participle heavied)

  1. (often with “up”) To make heavier. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  2. To sadden. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  3. (Australia, New Zealand, informal) To use power or wealth to exert influence on, e.g., governments or corporations; to pressure.
    The union was well known for the methods it used to heavy many businesses.
    • 1985, Australian House of Representatives, House of Representatives Weekly Hansard, Issue 11, Part 1, page 1570,
      [] the Prime Minister sought to evade the simple fact that he heavied Mr Reid to get rid of Dr Armstrong.
    • 2001, Finola Moorhead, Darkness More Visible, Spinifex Press, Australia, page 557,
      But he is on the wrong horse, heavying me. My phone′s tapped. Well, he won′t find anything.
    • 2005, David Clune, Ken Turner (editors), The Premiers of New South Wales, 1856-2005, Volume 3: 1901-2005, page 421,
      But the next two days of the Conference also produced some very visible lobbying for the succession and apparent heavying of contenders like Brereton, Anderson and Mulock – much of it caught on television.

Etymology 2

heave +‎ -y


  • IPA(key): /ˈhiːvi/


heavy (comparative more heavy, superlative most heavy)

  1. Having the heaves.
    a heavy horse

See also

  • heavy cake


  • heavy at OneLook Dictionary Search


  • Havey, Yahve



From English heavy.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɛvi/


heavy (not comparable)

  1. (predicative, colloquial, probably slightly dated) heavy; intense; serious; shocking (extraordinary, especially in a bad way)
    Synonyms: heftig, krass, nicht ohne, ein starkes Stück



From English heavy (metal).


  • IPA(key): /ˈxebi/, [ˈxe.β̞i]


heavy (plural heavys)

  1. heavy (pertaining to heavy metal)
  2. heavy (intense)
  3. (Dominican Republic, informal) cool



Ultimately from Latin ponderōsus (weighty).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpɒn.dəɹ.əs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈpɑn.dɚ.əs/


ponderous (comparative more ponderous, superlative most ponderous)

  1. Heavy, massive, weighty.
    • 1879, Julian Hawthorne, Archibald Malmaison, ch. 5:
      [H]e saw, at the end of a shallow embrasure, a ponderous door of dark wood, braced with iron.
    • c. 1920, Edgar B. P. Darlington, The Circus Boys on the Flying Rings, ch. 4:
      The great elephant, when the cage was being placed, would, at a signal from its keeper, place its ponderous head against one side of the cage and push.
  2. (figuratively, by extension) Serious, onerous, oppressive.
    • 1781, Samuel Johnson, Lives of the Poets, “Dryden”:
      It was Dryden’s opinion . . . that the drama required an alternation of comick and tragick scenes; and that it is necessary to mitigate, by alleviations of merriment, the pressure of ponderous events, and the fatigue of toilsome passions.
    • 1845, Charles Dickens, Pictures From Italy, ch. 11:
      In its court-yard—worthy of the Castle of Otranto in its ponderous gloom—is a massive staircase.
    • 1915, Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out, ch. 19:
      For the time, her own body was the source of all the life in the world, which tried to burst forth here—there—and was repressed now by Mr. Bax, now by Evelyn, now by the imposition of ponderous stupidity.
  3. Clumsy, unwieldy, or slow, especially due to weight.
    • 1915, Samuel Hopkins Adams, Little Miss Grouch, ch. 10:
      Slowly, through an increasing glow that lighted land and water alike, the leviathan of the deep made her ponderous progress to the hill-encircled harbor.
    • 1919, Virginia Woolf, “Kew Gardens”:
      Following his steps . . . came two elderly women of the lower middle class, one stout and ponderous, the other rosy cheeked and nimble.
  4. Dull, boring, tedious; long-winded in expression.
    • 1863, Elizabeth Gaskell, “Cousin Phillis”:
      Over supper the minister did unbend a little into one or two ponderous jokes.
    • 1918, Gene Stratton-Porter, A Daughter Of The Land, ch. 2:
      [A]s certainly as any one said anything in her presence that she had occasion to repeat, she changed the wording to six-syllabled mouthfuls, delivered with ponderous circumlocution.
  5. (rare) Characterized by or associated with pondering.
    • c. 1660, Thomas Manton, “Sermon Upon John III” in Works of Thomas Manton (2002 edition), →ISBN, p. 464:
      Ponderous thoughts take hold of the heart; musing maketh the fire to burn, and steady sight hath the greatest influence upon us.
    • 1804, The Literary Magazine and American Register, vol. 2, no. 7, p. 10:
      The acute and ponderous mind of Dr. Johnson was not always right in its decisions.
    • 1850, Fraser’s Magazine for Town and Country, vol. 41, p. 242:
      They are the pleasantest of all companions, and perhaps the most affluent in correct opinions of men and things generally, although little addicted to ponderous consideration or deep research.
  6. (obsolete) Dense.


  • (heavy, massive): heavy, massive
  • (serious, onerous): oppressive, serious

Derived terms

  • ponderously
  • ponderousness



  • neuropods

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