Definition of dead weight in English:

dead weight

noun

  • 1The weight of an inert person or thing:

    ‘he had to struggle while carrying forty-five pounds of deadweight on his back’
    • ‘I felt as if a deadweight had just been dropped into my stomach.’
    • ‘His useless left arm is a deadweight that causes severe pain in his neck and back.’
    • ‘Struggling frantically, she went under, kicked back up, fought to free herself from the deadweight on her back.’
    • ‘On the roof, Roger struggles under the dead weight of the young man.’
    • ‘And, as it happens, the rescuer shedding what he knew would be the dead weight of his clothing was my great-great-grandfather, John Kitchel.’
    • ‘After 20 excruciating minutes of grinding my way uphill (with my legs feeling like deadweights from the overdose of lactic acid flooding my muscles), the ground finally began to even out.’
    • ‘Why is the dead weight of someone (e.g., an unconscious person or dead body) heavier than live weight (e.g., a conscious person)?’
    • ‘The koala was a dead weight holding me down and we stayed in those brown dark depths for what seemed like half an eternity.’
    1. 1.1 A heavy or oppressive burden:
      ‘she'd drag my father's dead weight from wherever he'd fallen’
      • ‘When Sumit Sarkar published his path-breaking textbook on modern India in 1983, he helped lift the deadweight of the old clichéd guides.’
      • ‘Those ubiquitous institutions which act in all organisations like a deadweight on actually getting things done?’
      • ‘His mother's vow that he would join the priesthood should he be cured appears to have created a deadweight of responsibility on a child's consciousness.’
      • ‘‘The amount of time that you have to put into filling out these forms is another deadweight on the economy,’ says Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist.’
      • ‘We have to abandon the enormous deadweight of the materialism of the Western tradition, and turn to a more planetary way of thinking.’
      • ‘And they mustn't be impeded by the deadweight of regulation that this Labour Government has imposed.’
      • ‘The danger is that those who come to Britain to work hard, get educated and better themselves and their families risk being dragged down by the deadweight of sections of the indigenous population.’
      • ‘The solution is a complete purge of all the deadweight.’
      • ‘A radical force for equality or a deadweight of political correctness?’
      • ‘To Colley, the past is not a deadweight impeding progress.’
      • ‘There needs to be careful strategic thinking of the ways in which positive social currents can overcome negative resistances and the dead weight of habit.’
      • ‘But it can be an enormous deadweight on U.S. power, as we saw earlier this year.’
      • ‘In this way, I argue, the notion of tradition might function, not as a dead weight, but as a genuinely inspirational element in the future development of the contemporary music scene.’
      • ‘We must instead place our selves and our present day existence where they rightfully belong, in the center of our universe, and shake off the dead weight of the past.’
      • ‘If he didn't get the trade out of Boston that he sought, he'd become a deadweight around the clubhouse until his contract expired at the end of this campaign.’
      burden, unwanted responsibility, encumbrance, dead weight, load, onus
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 The total weight of cargo, stores, etc. which a ship carries or can carry:
      ‘this will produce a maximum dead weight of 72,350 tons’
      • ‘The LMZ Artemis has a summer deadweight of 69,714 tonnes, 83,000 tonne displacement, is 228 metres long and has draft of 12.1 metres.’
      • ‘A large cruise ship may have a deadweight of as little as 7000 tons, while a very large oil tanker may have a deadweight of more than 300000 tons.’
      • ‘Some 500 tonnes of deck cargo can be carried, giving a deadweight of about 1,300 tonnes at the maximum draft of 5.1m or around 800 tonnes at the design draft of 4.2m.’
      • ‘The other vessel is the Forest Champion, a handy size vessel with a deadweight of 26,472 tonnes.’
      • ‘This buoyancy supports most of the deadweight of floating cargoes, so that typically only a minor portion of the deadweight is carried by the vessel.’
      • ‘The net registered tonnage of a ship roughly corresponds to 40 per cent of its deadweight.’
    3. 1.3
      another term for dead load
      • ‘This requirement need not be applied to a story where the dead weight above that story is less than 10 percent of the total dead weight of the structure.’
      • ‘The horizontal pressure on the wall from the backfill is countered by the deadweight of the concrete and of the backfill material pressing down upon its broad base.’
      • ‘Finally, there is a limit for the dead weight of the structure if the structure is going to be floated out.’
      • ‘In summary, the load used for settlement analyses must consist of the actual dead weight of the structure, and in many cases, will also include live loads.’
    4. 1.4Farming [mass noun] Animals sold by the estimated weight of saleable meat that they will yield.
      • ‘We sell deadweight most of the time with the odd foray into live markets.’
      • ‘There is a definite shortage of good lightweight heifers and I notice that the Scottish auctions averaged 108p/kilo liveweight last week, which is round about 180-185p deadweight.’
      • ‘Many farmers are reluctant to sell deadweight and sheep selling does lend itself more readily to the live auction.’
      • ‘At this level, any pig producer selling deadweight should be diverting some of his production into the live market to take advantage of the situation.’
      • ‘Currently farmers receive around £1.45 per kilo deadweight for their lambs which averages around £25 - £30 per head; and is well below profitable production levels.’
    5. 1.5Economics [usually as modifier] Losses incurred because of the inefficient allocation of resources, especially through taxation or restriction:
      ‘a dead-weight burden’
      • ‘All the studies done on taxation show that the higher the marginal tax rate, the higher the deadweight costs of the tax system.’
      • ‘We do what we can to efficiently weed out this deadweight cost, but it still consumes manpower and money that would otherwise be dedicated to serving paying customers.’
      • ‘But we reject any such market, and we don't budge when an economist observes that prohibiting free transfer generates deadweight loss.’
      • ‘It's pure deadweight administrative loss to them.’
      • ‘It's not clear to me that the income from the richest 5% could have been redirected towards the poorest 20% without some deadweight loss in income.’
      • ‘For jobs where the curriculum is unrelated, the entire cost of the course of study, in time and money, is a complete deadweight loss imposed by this law.’
      • ‘Moreover, we have shown that this process maximizes the welfare to society by reducing any deadweight loss associated with an inefficient inter-regional spatial pattern of labour.’
      • ‘Where these products generate inconvenience or lower utility to the consumer, and yet save the producer nothing, a deadweight loss is generated.’
      • ‘In fact, it is estimated that the economy incurs a $67 billion deadweight loss each year that is directly attributable to traffic delays.’
      • ‘However, if that is not the case, prices in the U.S. will increase, imposing a classical deadweight loss (from trade reduction) on the U.S.’
      • ‘Yet we haven't even begun to grapple with the huge economic dead weight of epidemic welfarism, which is costing us $36 million a day.’
      • ‘This is an economic rent to the council and a deadweight loss to society, as it's an incentive to use parking less efficiently.’
      • ‘And taxation to support government insurance programmes has a high deadweight loss.’
      • ‘Firms face a deadweight cost if, having increased their training investments, their staff move on to other companies.’
      • ‘It represents a large deadweight cost and would not be a good use of public funds.’
      • ‘It is putting a huge deadweight cost on the small businesses that are trying to produce the wealth, the jobs, and trying to keep this country going.’
      • ‘However, it is likely that an increasing proportion of those who remain on the payroll are not engaged in productive work leading to increasing deadweight losses.’
    6. 1.6[usually as modifier] A debt not covered by assets.
      • ‘Where Government borrows to invest in social infrastructure this is called deadweight debt.’
      • ‘The Golden Rule will yield benefits for future generations (reproductive debt) and will discourage irresponsible spending on deadweight debt.’
      • ‘It will be a matter of future government policy, but certainly they would go a long way toward wiping out the deadweight debt of the province.’
      • ‘Moreover, monetary policy has the great virtue, when used as a stimulus, of not leaving behind a mass of deadweight debt to be serviced from the public purse.’

Pronunciation:

dead weight

/dɛdˈweɪt/