heave a dainty little sigh


New Member
Please anybody tells me what does it mean by 'heaving a dainty little sigh'?

Doesn't the word 'heave' mean 'heavily sigh'? Then what about 'little'?

and what does 'dainty' exactly mean in this sentence?

thanks a lot in advance for anyone helping me solve this case. :)
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Welcome to the forum jooyins.

    I suggest you read the rules concerning context and source ... then give us some to work with.


    New Member
    I'm really sorry. maybe it's because I think this clause would be clear enough in itself for native English speakers so....
    okay let me explain this
    this clause is from 'The Landlady' ,one of the story in Roald Dahl's 'Tales of the Unexpected',
    and The boy in the story named Billy Weaver is showing his wonder about how long ago
    the last person came to this boarding-house so the landlady replies

    'Dear me,' she said, shaking her head and heaving a dainty little sigh. 'I would never have thought it. How time does fly away from us all, doesn't it, Mr.Wilkins?'


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    No, the meanings of "heave" (which is a verb) and "heavily" (which is an adverb) have little to do with each other.

    When you looked at the definition of the verb "heave" in the dictionary, what did you find?


    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    The standard and clichéd way to sigh is to "heave a hearty sigh". This is alluded to in this expression but since the woman referred to is thought to be ladylike she heaves a dainty little sigh as that is the sort of person she is.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    The story is by the author of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "James and the Giant Peach." He frequently uses language in odd, yet clever ways.


    Senior Member
    If "heave a sigh" is odd, which one is more colloquial? What do people usually say? How about "let out a sigh"?
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