Definition of heavy-handed in US English:



  • 1Clumsy or insensitive.

    ‘this heavy-handed prose is merely tiresome’
    • ‘It's a good thing the scene was deleted, as it's heavy-handed and the dialogue is awkward.’
    • ‘Police used heavy-handed tactics to disperse the protesters.’
    • ‘Some say the police did it to gain sympathy for the coming heavy-handed police tactics at the summit.’
    • ‘But Ms Smith, who got caught up in the brawl, said she would be complaining to the police about their heavy-handed approach.’
    • ‘Three years of protests is a long time in a city where the police have developed a reputation for using heavy-handed tactics against demonstrators.’
    • ‘In Portugal handcuffed and hung over hooligans whinge about heavy-handed police tactics and plead their innocence.’
    • ‘The riots were seen specifically as anti-police demonstrations provoked by heavy-handed police harassment.’
    • ‘Too often they came across as gimmicks, awkward and heavy-handed.’
    • ‘Outraged republicans accused the police of heavy-handed tactics.’
    • ‘The heavy-handed tactics resulted in sporadic clashes between protesters and police and numerous arrests.’
    • ‘It is narrative driven, without being heavy-handed or overly literal.’
    • ‘The protesters also want an end to the heavy-handed police tactics that led to the killing of the four demonstrators last week.’
    • ‘This was particularly the case in Brixton where the riots are thought to have been sparked off by a certain degree of insensitive and heavy-handed policing.’
    • ‘Killing the arsonist was both heavy-handed and bound to attract further police attention.’
    • ‘Pub landlord Paul Morris criticised police for being heavy-handed and has disputed that any drugs were found.’
    • ‘But protesters claimed they had not come to fight and many accused the police of heavy-handed tactics and attacking them for no reason.’
    • ‘Around fifteen people were arrested after heavy-handed tactics were employed by police.’
    • ‘Surely the police response was a bit heavy-handed - what order were they disrupting anyhow?’
    • ‘My apologies to the author for what may well be rather heavy-handed paraphrasing of his often quite poetic prose.’
    • ‘They warned, however, that a heavy-handed police response could trigger mass protests.’
    clumsy, awkward, maladroit, unhandy, inept, unskilful, inexpert, graceless, ungraceful
    insensitive, oppressive, overbearing, high-handed, harsh, hard, stern, severe, tyrannical, despotic, autocratic, ruthless, merciless
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Overly forceful or oppressive.
      ‘the government's most heavy-handed efforts to muzzle social protest’
      • ‘This intrusion shows how heavy-handed the movie's efforts to be relevant and political are.’



/ˈˌhevē ˈˌhandəd//ˈˌhɛvi ˈˌhændəd/