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From Middle English heven, hebben, from Old English hebban, from Proto-West Germanic *habbjan, from Proto-Germanic *habjaną (to take up, lift), from Proto-Indo-European *kh₂pyéti, from the root *keh₂p-. See also have.


  • IPA(key): /hiːv/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːv


heave (third-person singular simple present heaves, present participle heaving, simple past heaved or hove, past participle heaved or hove or hoven or heft)

  1. (transitive) To lift with difficulty; to raise with some effort; to lift (a heavy thing).
    We heaved the chest-of-drawers on to the second-floor landing.
    He heaved himself out of the bed.
  2. (transitive) To throw, cast.
    They heaved rocks into the pond.
    The cap'n hove the body overboard.
  3. (intransitive) To rise and fall.
    Her chest heaved with emotion.
  4. (transitive) To utter with effort.
    She heaved a sigh and stared out of the window.
  5. (transitive, nautical) To pull up with a rope or cable.
    Heave up the anchor there, boys!
  6. (transitive, archaic) To lift (generally); to raise, or cause to move upwards (particularly in ships or vehicles) or forwards.
  7. (intransitive) To be thrown up or raised; to rise upward, as a tower or mound.
  8. (transitive, mining, geology) To displace (a vein, stratum).
  9. (transitive, archaic) To cause to swell or rise, especially in repeated exertions.
    The wind heaved the waves.
  10. (transitive, intransitive, nautical) To move in a certain direction or into a certain position or situation.
    to heave the ship ahead
  11. (intransitive) To retch, to make an effort to vomit; to vomit.
    The smell of the old cheese was enough to make you heave.
  12. (intransitive) To make an effort to raise, throw, or move anything; to strain to do something difficult.
  13. (obsolete, British, thieves' cant) To rob; to steal from; to plunder.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Danish: hive
  • Faroese: hiva
  • Norwegian Nynorsk: hiva, hive
  • Norwegian Bokmål: hive
  • Scanian: hyva
    Hallandian: hiva
  • Swedish: hiva
    Sudermannian: hyva



heave (plural heaves)

  1. An effort to raise something, such as a weight or one's own body, or to move something heavy.
    give something a heave
    • 2010, Andrea Levy, The Long Song, Tinder Press (2017), page 374:
      July made no reply but that of a sigh. For she was thinking of the heave she must make to see herself lifted from the ground.
  2. An upward motion; a rising; a swell or distention, as of the breast in difficult breathing, of the waves, of the earth in an earthquake, etc.
    • 1749, [John Cleland], “(Please specify the letter or volume)”, in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], London: [] G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] [], →OCLC:
      and now the bed shook, the curtains rattled so, that I could scarce hear the sighs and murmurs, the heaves and pantings that accompanied the action, from the beginning to the end
    • 2023 March 8, Chris Howe, “Building the platform for Old Oak Common's platforms”, in RAIL, number 978, page 60:
      The slab and piles will work together to resist 'ground heave' (the upward movement of the ground as it tries to push up into the box).
  3. A horizontal dislocation in a metallic lode, taking place at an intersection with another lode.
  4. (nautical) The measure of extent to which a nautical vessel goes up and down in a short period of time. Compare pitch.
  5. An effort to vomit; retching.
  6. (rare, only used attributively as in "heave line" or "heave horse") Broken wind in horses.
    • 1928, Farm Life - Volume 47, Issue 1, page 24:
      The dust would have to be watched out for with a heave horse, and most alfalfa hay...
    • 1988, New York State Veterinary College, Annual Conference for Veterinarians: Abstracts of Papers, page 14:
      The late stage is recognized by horse people as the true "heave" horse and at this stage most of the airways are partially or completely obstructed.
    • 2013, Lon D. Lewis, Feeding and Care of the Horse:
      The bay horse was straining at the time the picture was taken, making its heave line more noticeable.
  7. (cricket) A forceful shot in which the ball follows a high trajectory
    • 2019 July 14, Stephan Shemilt, “England win Cricket World Cup: Ben Stokes stars in dramatic finale against New Zealand”, in BBC Sport[2], London:
      That left 15 needed from Boult's final set. Two dots were followed by a heave over deep mid-wicket, then came the outrageous moment of fortune.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Orel, Vladimir E. (1998) “kap”, in Albanian Etymological Dictionary, Leiden, Boston, Köln: Brill, →ISBN, page 169
  2. ^ Demiraj, B. (1997) “kap”, in Albanische Etymologien: Untersuchungen zum albanischen Erbwortschatz [Albanian Etymologies: []] (Leiden Studies in Indo-European; 7)‎[1] (in German), Amsterdam, Atlanta: Rodopi