1. Having great weight: "The new metal ... was denser, more ponderous than gold" (Oliver Sacks).
a. Slow and labored because of great bulk or weight: "The massive turtle ... trudged on resolutely, making good time for such a labored and ponderous gait" (Rick Bass).
b. Difficult to maneuver or control because of great bulk or weight: ponderous luggage.
c. Slow or difficult to manage, especially because of complexity: ponderous legal procedures.
3. Dull and lacking grace or fluency: a ponderous speech. See Synonyms at heavy.
[Middle English, from Old French pondereux, from Latin ponderōsus, from pondus, ponder-, weight; see (s)pen- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
ponder·ous·ness, pon′der·osi·ty (-ŏsĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.