American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The unrelieved weight of a heavy, motionless mass.
- n. An oppressive burden or difficulty.
- n. The fixed weight of a structure or piece of equipment, such as a bridge on its supports. Also called dead load.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A heavy or oppressive burden; a weight or burden that has to be borne without aid or without compensatory advantage.
- n. A name given to an advance by the Bank of England to the government on account of half-pay and pensions to retired officers of the army and navy.
- n. Nautical, the lading of a vessel when it consists of heavy goods; that part of the cargo, as coal, iron, etc., which pays freight according to its weight, and not to its bulk.
- n. In railroading, the weight of a car as distinct from its load (called the live or paying weight) whether it is a freight-car, a passenger-car, or a stock-car.
- n. uncountable unremitting heavy weight that does not move
- n. idiomatic that which is useless or excess; that which slows something down
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. (Shipping), (Railroad) The weight of rolling stock, the live weight being the load.
- n. etc. See under Dead, Feather, etc.
- n. an oppressive encumbrance
- n. a heavy motionless weight
“She heard small branches snapping as Cara pulled the dead weight through the brush, and then the muffled thuds and tumbling scree as Tommy Lancaster's body rolled and bounced down a steep slope.”
“/Agamemnon/says, "an immense dead weight of silence has fallen on my tongue," - happily! for descriptions of feelings are only surpassed in wearisomeness by descriptions of scenery.”
“Rand heaved himself out from under the dead weight of the Trolloc, half-stunned.”
“The vicious inclinations of men are a dead weight upon their understandings, and able to draw down the scales against the clearest truths: for though it be absolutely in no man's power to believe, or to disbelieve what he will, yet men's lives have many times a great influence upon their understandings, to make assent easy or difficult; and as we are forward to believe what we have a mind to, so are we very backward and slow in yielding our assent to any thing that crosseth our inclinations.”
“That I should want to study, as my father did, – that I should for this cause hang as an unpractical, unproductive, dead weight on the family, – was the evil which she saw in prospective, against which my grandfather's placid, easy temper, and my grandmother's impulsive bountifulness, gave her no security.”
“I may not be brave, but I'm strong, and exhausted as I was I climbed by my arms alone, hauling my dead weight hand over hand, bumping and scraping against the wall - no work for a weakling, but my mortal funk was such that I could have done it with Henry VIII-on my back.”
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