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the state of a body perceived as having or generating a relatively high degree of warmth.
the condition or quality of being hot:
the heat of an oven.
the degree of hotness; temperature:
moderate heat.
the sensation of warmth or hotness:
unpleasant heat.
a bodily temperature higher than normal:
the heat of a fever; the feeling of heat caused by physical exertion.
added or external energy that causes a rise in temperature, expansion, evaporation, or other physical change.
Physics. a nonmechanical energy transfer with reference to a temperature difference between a system and its surroundings or between two parts of the same system. Symbol: Q.
a hot condition of the atmosphere or physical environment; hot season or weather.
a period of hot weather.
a sharp, pungent flavor, as that produced by strong spices.
warmth or intensity of feeling; vehemence; passion:
He spoke with much heat and at great length.
maximum intensity in an activity, condition, etc.; the height of any action, situation, or the like:
the heat of battle; the heat of passion.
extreme pressure, as of events, resulting in tension or strain:
In the heat of his hasty departure he forgot his keys.
a single intense effort; a sustained, concentrated, and continuous operation:
The painting was finished at a heat.
Slang. intensified pressure, especially in a police investigation.
Slang. the police.
Slang. armed protection, especially a pistol, revolver, or other firearm:
All guards carry some heat.

a single course in or division of a race or other contest.
a race or other contest in which competitors attempt to qualify for entry in the final race or contest.


a single operation of heating, as of metal in a furnace, in the treating and melting of metals.
a quantity of metal produced by such an operation.


sexual receptiveness in animals, especially females.
the period or duration of such receptiveness:
to be in heat.

verb (used with object)
to make hot or warm (often followed by up).
to excite emotionally; inflame or rouse with passion.
verb (used without object)
to become hot or warm (often followed by up).
to become excited emotionally.
Verb phrases
heat up, to increase or become more active or intense:
Business competition will heat up toward the end of the year.

the energy transferred as a result of a difference in temperature
the random kinetic energy of the atoms, molecules, or ions in a substance or body

related adjectives thermal calorific
the sensation caused in the body by heat energy; warmth
the state or quality of being hot
hot weather: the heat of summer
intensity of feeling; passion: the heat of rage
pressure: the political heat on the government over the economy
the most intense or active part: the heat of the battle
a period or condition of sexual excitement in female mammals that occurs at oestrus

a preliminary eliminating contest in a competition
a single section of a contest

(slang) police activity after a crime: the heat is off
(mainly US, slang) criticism or abuse: he took a lot of heat for that mistake
in the heat of the moment, without pausing to think
on heat, in heat

Also in season. (of some female mammals) sexually receptive
in a state of sexual excitement

(slang) the heat, the police
(informal) turn up the heat, turn on the heat, to increase the intensity of activity, coercion, etc
to make or become hot or warm
to make or become excited or intense

heat (hēt)

A form of energy associated with the motion of atoms or molecules and capable of being transmitted through solid and fluid media by conduction, through fluid media by convection, and through empty space by radiation.

The sensation or perception of such energy as warmth or hotness.

An abnormally high bodily temperature, as from a fever.



Internal energy that is transferred to a physical system from outside the system because of a difference in temperature and does not result in work done by the system on its surroundings. Absorption of energy by a system as heat takes the form of increased kinetic energy of its molecules, thus resulting in an increase in temperature of the system. Heat is transferred from one system to another in the direction of higher to lower temperature. See also thermodynamics. See Note at temperature.

See estrus.

heat definition

In physics, a form of energy associated with the movement of atoms and molecules in any material. The higher the temperature of a material, the faster the atoms are moving, and hence the greater the amount of energy present as heat. (See infrared radiation.)


Pursuit, prosecution, and other sorts of involvement with the law: types of cash mark which do not involve federal heat (1928+ Underworld)
(also heater) A good fastball (1980s+ Baseball)
Any sort of trouble, pressure, or recrimination, esp the angry complaining of irritated persons; flak, static: We better expect heat when this report gets out (late 1920s+)
(also heater) A firearm, usually a pistol: I was packing about as much heat as you find in an icicle without a gun (late 1920s+)
A round in boxing, inning in baseball, etc •Heat, ”a horse race,” is found by 1663 (1940s+ Sports)

Related Terms

bitch in heat, dead heat, give someone heat, pack heat
In addition to the idioms beginning with heat
heat up


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