dreadful heaving in his lungs

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Senior Member
Sandy went out on to the hill to look for his father. Walking over the heather he thought the week in Whalsay had made him a bit fitter. He didn’t feel the strain in his legs or that dreadful heaving in his lungs that came sometimes when he followed his father up the hill. In town he never walked anywhere and he lived off takeaway food.
Source: Red Bones by Ann Cleeves

The noun heaving refers to making soft sound when panting, right?

Thank you.
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't recall seeing "heaving" used with lungs before, but it clearly refers to his shortness of breath, and probably difficulty in breathing ("to heave" is to exert some effort). It could be related to heaving of the stomach, which is violent retching.
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