• Heaven


    • UK enPR: hĕvn, IPA: /hɛvn/
    Oxford English Dictionary. "Heaven, n."
    • US enPR: hĕv'ən, IPA: /ˈhɛvən/ and enPR: hĕvn, IPA: /hɛvn/
    • Rhymes: -ɛvn, Rhymes: -ɛvən


    From a wide variety of Middle English forms including hevin, heuen, and hewin ("heaven, sky"), from Old English heofon ("heaven, sky"), of uncertain origin.

    Cognate with Low German hēven ("heaven, sky"), Old Saxon heƀan ("heaven, sky"), and possibly the rare Old Norse hifinn, probably dissimilated forms of the Germanic root which appears in Old Norse himinn ("heaven, sky"), Gothic 𐌷𐌹𐌼𐌹𐌽𐍃 (himins, "heaven, sky"), Old Swedish himin, Old Danish himæn and probably also (in another variant form) Old Saxon himil, Old Dutch himil (modern Dutch hemel), and Old High German himil (German Himmel).

    Accepting these as cognates, some scholars propose a further derivation from Proto-Germanic *himinaz

    Gerhard Köbler, Altenglisches Wörterbuch, entry "heofon"

    or *himilaz ("cover, heaven, sky"), from Proto-Indo-European *k(')emen- ("sky, heaven"),

    from Proto-Indo-European *ḱem- ("cover, shroud").

    Such a derivation would make the word cognate with shame.



    (plural heavens)
    1. The sky, specifically:
      1. (dated, now usually plural) The distant sky in which the sun, moon, and stars appear or move; the firmament; the celestial spheres.
    rodores candel.
        • 1535, Coverdale Bible, Ecclesiastes III 1All that is vnder the heauen.
        • 1585, Thomas Washington translating Nicholas de Nicolay, The nauigations, peregrinations and voyages, made into Turkie by Nicholas Nicholay, I vi 4The ordinaunce...made such a great noyse and thunderyng that it seemed the heaven would have fallen.
        • 1594, Thomas Blundeville, M. Blundeuile his Exercises, I iii 136In ascending orderly vpwardes...The first is the Spheare of the Moone...The seuenth the Spheare of Saturne, The eight the Spheare of the fixed Starres, commonly called the firmament. The ninth is called the second moueable or Christall heauen, The tenth is called the first moueable, and the eleuenth is called the Emperiall heauen, where God and his Angels are said to dwell.
        • circa 1594, William Shakespeare, The Comedie of Errors, I i 66What obscured light the heauens did grant.
        • 1625, Nathanæl Carpenter, Geography delineated forth in two bookes, I iv 77The Heauens...are carried in 24 houres from East to West.
        • 1656, Thomas Stanley, The History of Philosophy, II v 74Stars and constellations; some fixed for the Ornament of Heaven
      1. 1930 March, Nature, 179 2
      2. The moon's path lies in that belt of the heavens known as the zodiac.
        • 1981, E.R. Harrison, Cosmology, XII 250In an infinite...universe the stars would collectively outshine the Sun and flood the heavens with light far more intense than is observed.
        • 2006, Peter Carroll translating a maxim of the Southern Song dynasty in Between Heaven and Modernity: Reconstructing Suzhou, 1895–1937Above is Heaven, Below are Suzhou and Hangzhou
      3. (obsolete) The near sky in which weather, flying animals, &c. appear; (obsolete) the atmosphere; the climate
      4. circa 1597, William Shakespeare, The comicall Historie of the Merchant of Venice, IV i
      5. The qualitie of mercie is not ſtraind,
    it droppeth as the gentle raine from heauen
    vpon the place beneath
        • 1660, George Mackenzie, Religio Stoici, II 44Fellow-believers...fed the birds of heaven with the carcases of pious and reverend Church-men.
      1. (obsolete) A model displaying the movement of the celestial bodies, an orrery
        • 1600, Thomas Nashe, Summers Last WillEuery man cannot, with Archimedes, make a heauen of brasse.
    1. (religion) The abode of God or the gods, traditionally conceived as beyond the sky, specifically:
      1. (Christianity, usually capitalized) The abode of God and of the angels and saints in His presence
      2. 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, I 263
      3. Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
        • 1906 July 30, Washington Post, 12 4Christ's coming from the heavens has entered into the life of humanity as the Founder of the world to come.
      4. (religion, by extension, often capitalized) The abode of God in Islam; similar abodes of the gods in other religions and traditions, such as Mount Olympus
    href="http://freewordfinder.com/dictionary/sc./">sc. Astarte
      1. 1594, William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, IV iii 41
      2. With Ioue in heauen, or some where else.
        • 1649, Alexander Ross translating the Sieur Du Ryer, The Koran Of , Translated out of the Arabique into French... newly Englished, 406As he
    href="http://freewordfinder.com/dictionary/sc./">sc. Muhammad was returning, in the fourth Heaven, Moses advised him to goe back to God.
        • 1832, Charles Coleman, The Mythology of the Hindus, XIII 220Like the Buddhas, they
    href="http://freewordfinder.com/dictionary/sc./">sc. the Jains believe that there is a plurality of heavens and hells.
        • 1841, Mountstuart Elphinstone, The History of India, I ii iv 169The heaven of Siva is in the midst of the eternal snows and glaciers of Keilás, one of the highest and deepest groups of the stupendous summits of Hémaláya.
        • 2011, Lillian Tseng, Picturing Heaven in Early China, 2To grasp the Chinese's notion of Heaven, we must look at the contexts in which tian is used... In the Book of Odes (Shi jing 詩經), which includes poems dated between the eleventh and seventh centuries
    BCE, tian is a place where the Heavenly Thearch resides.
      1. (by extension, usually capitalized) Providence, the will of God or the council of the gods; fate
    Vnlesse her prayers, whom heauen delights to heare
    And loues to grant, repreeue him from the wrath
    Of greatest Iustice.
    And high permission of all-ruling Heaven.
        • 1793, Henry Boyd, Poems, II iv 270Heaven commands thine arm
    To lift the sure-destroying sword!
        • 1886 May 8, The Pall Mall Gazette, 1 1...executing the just judgment of offended Heaven upon cattle-houghers, traitors, and assassins.
        • 1992, W.S. Wilson translating E. Yoshikawa, Taiko, II 186There's nothing we can do but pray to heaven for good luck.
        • 2011, Lillian Tseng, Picturing Heaven in Early China, 3Cosmologists regarded Heaven as a force—composed of qi , which was divided into yin and yang aspects—that kept the cosmos moving.
    1. (religion) The afterlife of the blessed dead, traditionally conceived as opposed to an afterlife of the wicked and unjust (cf. hell), specifically:
      1. (Christianity) The afterlife of the souls who are not sent to a place of punishment or purification such as hell, purgatory, or limbo; the state or condition of being in the presence of God after death
    ece geopenad engla rice...
    My body shall make good vpon this earth,
    Or my diuine soule answer it in heauen.
      1. (religion, by extension, often capitalized) The afterlife of the blessed dead in Islam and in other religions and traditions, such as the Pure Land or Elysium
        • 2011, Lillian Tseng, Picturing Heaven in Early China, 3The belief in ascending to Heaven after death became widespread in the Han dynasty.
      2. (by extension) Any paradise; any blissful place or experience
      3. 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, I 254–255
      4. The mind is its own place, and in it self

    Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
        • 1782, F. Burney, Cecilia, I iii iv 51Such a shop as that...would be quite a heaven upon earth to me.
        • 1940, H.G. Wells, Babes in Darkling Wood, II iii 198They thought strikes and hunger marches the quintessence of politics and Soviet Russia heaven on earth.
      1. (by extension) A state of bliss; a peaceful ecstasy
      2. 1809 October 26, William Wordsworth, Friend, 163
      3. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!
      4. (informal, with a modifier) Similarly blissful afterlives, places, or states for particular people, animals, or objects
        • 1867, J.W. De Forest, Miss Ravenel's Conversion, XXVI 368Perhaps it has gone to the dog heaven, and is wagging somewhere in glory.
        • 1879 February, J. H. Payne, Scribner's Monthly, 470 2His pet name for Easthampton is ‘Goose-heaven’, and he harps upon the idea eternally.
        • 1908 October 5, Chicago Tribune, 3 1One gray beard who found the gates closed shinned up the fifteen foot fence...and dropped into the baseball heaven he was seeking.
        • 1972, M. Sanders, FlashThe Dave Clark 5 deserve a place in Rock & Roll Heaven right along there beside Question Mark & The Mysterians, the Standells, Count Five, the Troggs, and the Music Machine.
        • 1986 February 3, Newsweek, 70The building was once a candy factory, which makes it, Frazier says, mouse heaven.
        • 2003 August 1, Church Times, 28 3Ricky bumps it into the garden, and tells me it is going to ‘the cooker heaven’. ‘Where it will be this size,’ adds his wife, her hands making the size of a brick. She means that it is off to the squasher.
      5. 2004 July 17, Western Mail (Cardiff), 15
      6. Goronwy has gone to goldfish heaven where he is swimming in a beautiful clear blue ocean with all the other fishies.

    Usage notes

    Frequently capitalized as Heaven in all senses when regarded as a proper name.

    When used as a synonym for the impersonal sky, typically plural "heavens" or "the heavens" since the 17th century except in poetry.



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