Definition of weight in English:

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Pronunciation: /weɪt/


1 [mass noun] A body’s relative mass or the quantity of matter contained by it, giving rise to a downward force; the heaviness of a person or thing: he was at least fifteen stone in weight she misjudged the weight of the book and dropped it [count noun]: mastiffs can reach a weight of 8st 2lb (52 kg)
More example sentences
  • A specific body weight was not strived for.
  • I thought I'd translate my weight from stones to pounds.
  • His weight has risen massively and his body has ballooned.
heaviness, mass, load, burden, pressure, force;
poundage, tonnage
informal avoirdupois
1.1 Physics The force exerted on the mass of a body by a gravitational field.
Example sentences
  • The interaction of the acceleration of gravity on the mass of our body produces the force which is called weight.
  • Assuming you're doing this in a gravity environment, more mass means more weight.
  • Our weight is defined as the force that we exert due to our mass.
1.2The quality of being heavy: as he came upstairs the boards creaked under his weight
More example sentences
  • I crept around my apartment, the floor under my warm beige carpet creaking under my weight with each step that I took.
  • She stopped, noticing that the wooden planks were giving in to her weight, creaking dangerously.
  • He took a step on the platform, his weight causing a loud creak, and froze.
1.3 [count noun] A unit or system of units used for expressing how much an object or quantity of matter weighs: weights and measures
More example sentences
  • It is very important that farmers selling livestock and other products start to think in terms of the metric system of weights and measures such as kilos and litres.
  • Elaborated between 1790 and 1799, the decimal metric system of weights and measures was zealously promoted under Napoleon.
  • Equally of interest at the exhibition are the charts listing the different quantities and units used for weights and measures in this land.
2A piece of metal known to weigh a definite amount and used on scales to determine how heavy an object or quantity of a substance is: the herbalist spooned the powder on to scales with tiny brass weights
More example sentences
  • Abu Ammar pondered this a moment as he put the bags on the old brass scale and adjusted the weights.
  • There is a set of scales with weights, a rolling pin, a round spice tin, a wooden potato masher, and a butter cooler.
  • People had to carry the scales, accompanying weights, and sometimes even tools to cut the metal, just to be able to transact.
2.1A heavy object, especially one being lifted or carried: be careful when lifting a heavy weight
More example sentences
  • The sections were forced to march distances of up to 8km over night to reach stand locations carrying weights in excess of 35 kg.
  • Press under kitchen weights and let sit overnight at room temperature.
2.2A heavy object used to give an impulse or act as a counterpoise in a mechanism.
Example sentences
  • We come across bright ideas in books, like over-length lines passed through pulleys under floats and the excess taken up by counter-balancing weights.
  • Basically it's a series of counterbalanced weights which moves the camera's centre of gravity away from the operator whilst still allowing them to perform camera moves.
  • ‘Um, he and Robbie went to the mall with Tommy,’ I replied, stacking the weights on the counter.
2.3A heavy object thrown by a shot-putter.
2.4 (weights) Blocks or discs of metal or other heavy material used in weightlifting or weight training.
Example sentences
  • I favor lighter weights and dumbbells to develop balance, control and coordination.
  • We also worked out with weights and used treadmills and stationary bicycles.
  • It doesn't matter how many weights or fitness regimes I do.
2.5 [mass noun] The amount that a jockey is expected or required to weigh, or the amount that a horse can easily carry.
Example sentences
  • Such was his class that when running in handicaps, he was forced to give away huge amounts of weight - yet still managed to come home in front.
  • When the handicapper allots a weight to a horse for the Grand National, he will look at its previous form.
  • Look at the weight carried by the horses that finished in the frame.
3 [mass noun] The ability of someone or something to influence decisions or actions: a recommendation by the committee will carry great weight
More example sentences
  • They had no weight or influence in society to convince them of any falsehood that it would replace what was true.
  • How does a majority in one case get the power to imbue its decision with extra weight?
  • First, future costs may not have the same weight in our decisions as present costs.
influence, force, leverage, sway, muscle, teeth, importance, significance, consequence, value, substance, power, authority, prestige
informal clout, beef, pull
3.1The importance attributed to something: individuals differ in the weight they attach to various aspects of a job
More example sentences
  • Any extended treatment of the subject of empire that does not give full weight to the fact that human beings do not want to be ruled by foreigners is worth very little.
  • Above all, it is necessary to give full weight to the provisions of Article 5 as a whole.
  • Shakespeare's biographers now give full weight to material sidelined by earlier scholars.
3.2 Statistics A factor associated with one of a set of numerical quantities, used to represent its importance relative to the other members of the set.
4The surface density of cloth, used as a measure of its quality.
Example sentences
  • Keep two weights of press cloths on hand and use them appropriately.
  • Customers often accused scrap dealers of selling false weights or qualities of goods.
  • Rayon is strong, extremely absorbent, comes in a variety of qualities and weights, and can be made to resemble natural fabrics.


[with object]
1Hold (something) down by placing a heavy object on top of it: a mug half filled with coffee weighted down a stack of papers
More example sentences
  • The main disadvantage is that they are a bit fragile in heavy weather even if they are weighted down.
  • Her body was limp and lifeless and her heavy dress was weighted down by the water.
  • They are not weighted down by the need for power.
1.1Attach a heavy object to (something), especially so as to make it stay in place: the jugs were covered with muslin veils weighted with coloured beads
More example sentences
  • Her neck is hung with crucifixes and beads, while her wrists are weighted with bands of stainless steel.
  • Billy's hammock had been weighted with shot and his body was thrown into the sea.
  • To make sure that the roots stay submerged, tie them gently with a piece of string that has been weighted with a stone.
2Attribute importance or value to: speaking, reading, and writing should be weighted equally in the assessment
More example sentences
  • Important economic indicators that are weighted so heavily in public and private decision-making are not impacted by changes to the environment.
  • I think it's important to recognize the cost of war and to weight that cost against our raison d'être.
  • Thus, two countries with vastly different populations, like Ghana and China, for example, are weighted equally.
2.1 (be weighted) Be planned or arranged so as to put a specified person, group, or factor in a position of advantage or disadvantage: the balance of power is weighted in favour of the government
More example sentences
  • In most times and places, the scales have been heavily weighted towards the great men.
  • Some accept the judgments reluctantly but, increasingly, men are showing their frustration at what they believe is a system that is weighted too heavily in favour of mothers.
  • I don't believe that the system should be weighted in favour of developers, but everyone should work together to produce end results that suit both the city and the developer.
2.2 Statistics Multiply the components of (an average) by factors to take account of their importance.
Example sentences
  • These factors are statistically weighted as to importance, and relative values are assigned.
  • However, note that values should be weighted by their probabilities given the data.
  • Data were transformed into presence/absence counts for all comparisons allowing species to be equally weighted.
3Assign a handicap weight to (a horse).
Example sentences
  • A total of 267 entries have been weighted for the Melbourne Cup, and 279 for the Caulfield Cup.
  • The 58 entries weighted for the Summer Handicap are shown below in order of horse, trainer, weight and merit rating.
  • Quoted at 5-1, this is the horse weighted to win the race.
4Treat (a fabric) with a mineral to make it seem thicker and heavier.



put on (or lose) weight

Become fatter (or thinner): you shouldn’t be eating that burger—you’ve put on weight lately she had lost weight and her features seemed almost angular
More example sentences
  • The thing is, racehorses can lose weight and put on weight very quickly.
  • Most people who have weight problems can lose weight, indeed have already done so.
  • I will not in any way encourage anyone to lose weight or put on weight.

throw one's weight about (or around)

informal Be unpleasantly self-assertive: he didn’t swagger or throw his weight around
More example sentences
  • Officials tended to throw their weight around, whilst deferring to those above them on the bureaucratic ladder, to scramble for petty privilege, and to defend their narrow departmental turf.
  • Problem is, you tend to get young blokes coming in groups of two or three, and just throwing their weight around.
  • He is the typical office bully who throws his weight around because he is the boss's man.

throw one's weight behind

informal Use one’s influence to help support: the council is to throw its weight behind a campaign to save one of the borough’s best-loved beauty spots
More example sentences
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Brian Cowen also threw his weight behind the Treaty.
  • He threw his weight behind three candidates in last year's City Council elections.
  • Gilbert is the latest business figure to throw his weight behind Scotland's bid to host the 2008 European football championships.

the weight of the world

Used in reference to a very heavy burden of worry or responsibility: he continues to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders
More example sentences
  • So when I saw him yesterday he looked down and beat, like he was bearing the weight of the world.
  • I sobbed silently; I felt heavy, as if the weight of the world was on my shoulders.
  • You'd swear they had the weight of the world on their shoulders, rather, in many cases the relatively trivial trials of a town council.

be a weight off one's mind

Come as a great relief after one has been worried: there’s nothing seriously wrong with you—is that a weight off your mind?
More example sentences
  • Retired miner Cope said the deal was a weight off his mind.
  • It is a weight off your mind,’ he said.

be worth one's weight in gold

Be extremely useful or helpful: someone who can understand and collate medical notes is worth their weight in gold
More example sentences
  • All the cast were worth their weight in gold.
  • When special agents are brought in, they are treated as if they were worth their weight in gold.
  • As I mentioned previously, great care needs to be taken when moving in to areas where you have no local knowledge and this is where a reliable local property consultant is worth their weight in gold.


Old English (ge)wiht, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wicht and German Gewicht. The form of the word has been influenced by weigh1.

Words that rhyme with weight

abate, ablate, aerate, ait, await, backdate, bait, bate, berate, castrate, collate, conflate, crate, create, cremate, date, deflate, dictate, dilate, distraite, donate, downstate, eight, elate, equate, estate, fate, fête, fixate, freight, frustrate, gait, gate, gestate, gradate, grate, great, gyrate, hate, hydrate, inflate, innate, interrelate, interstate, irate, Kate, Kuwait, lactate, late, locate, lustrate, mandate, mate, migrate, misdate, misstate, mistranslate, mutate, narrate, negate, notate, orate, ornate, Pate, placate, plate, prate, prorate, prostrate, pulsate, pupate, quadrate, rate, rotate, sate, sedate, serrate, short weight, skate, slate, spate, spectate, spruit, stagnate, state, straight, strait, Tate, tête-à-tête, Thwaite, translate, translocate, transmigrate, truncate, underrate, understate, underweight, update, uprate, upstate, up-to-date, vacate, vibrate, wait

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: weight

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