n. Abbr. wt. or w
1. A measure of the heaviness of an object: a contest to guess the weight of a pig.
2. The force with which a body is attracted to Earth or another celestial body, equal to the product of the object's mass and the acceleration of gravity.
a. A unit measure of gravitational force: a table of weights and measures.
b. A system of such measures: avoirdupois weight; troy weight.
4. An object used principally to exert a force by virtue of its gravitational attraction to Earth, especially:
a. A metallic solid used as a standard of comparison in weighing.
b. An object used to hold something else down.
c. A counterbalance in a machine.
d. Sports A heavy object, such as a dumbbell, lifted for exercise or in athletic competition.
5. Excessive fat; corpulence: exercising in order to lose weight.
6. Statistics A factor assigned to a number in a computation, as in determining an average, to increase or decrease the number's effect on the computation, reflecting its importance.
7. Oppressiveness; pressure: the weight of responsibilities.
8. The greater part; preponderance: The weight of the evidence is against the defendant.
a. Influence, importance, or authority: Her approval carried great weight. See Synonyms at importance.
b. Ponderous quality: the weight of the speaker's words.
10. Sports A classification according to comparative lightness or heaviness. Often used in combination: a heavyweight boxer.
a. The heaviness or thickness of a fabric in relation to a particular season or use. Often used in combination: a summerweight jacket.
b. A measure of the relative thickness of yarn.
tr.v. weight·ed, weight·ing, weightsIdioms:
1. To make heavy or heavier: Our backpacks were weighted down with food and other essentials.
2. To cause to feel concerned, sad, or preoccupied; burden or oppress: He was weighted with guilt.
3. To increase the weight or body of (fabrics) by treating with chemicals.
4. Statistics To assign weights or a weight to.
5. To cause to have a slant or bias: weighted the rules in favor of homeowners.
6. Sports To assign to (a horse) the weight it must carry as a handicap in a race.
According to weight rather than volume or other measure.
Sports To weigh within the limits stipulated for an athletic contest.
[Middle English wight, from Old English wiht; see wegh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus