...her breast heaving...

.SB.

Member
Costa Rica. Native language: Spanish.
Before this sounds weird to anyone I want to make it clear :p that I'm currently reading Harry Potter :p. The author of this book often places sentences/words after descriptions or actions that kinda throw me off in most of the occasions, however, and I admit that I don't have the linguistic prowess required to understand many of the words that she uses I often get the idea of the sentence after a few minutes when I reread them, even though I don't quite know what the word means.

But I can't seem to understand this specific sentence, for I was under the impression that the word "heave" meant lifting something through a great physical effort, so I would appreciate it if someone would be kind enough to explain me what this meant.

This is the context (Warning minor spoilers):

"Bella, who had leapt to her feet, was looking eagerly from Voldemort to Harry, her breast heaving".
 
  • panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This is a very common expression - simply meaning that she was breathing rapidly and deeply, as if from extreme exertion.
    Well, when I say common, I mean common in dramatic writing.
    It's not something I recall ever having said seriously :)
     

    .SB.

    Member
    Costa Rica. Native language: Spanish.
    Thanks. I never thought it meant her breast/boobs, I just didn't understand the sentence. I pictured her just jumping to a standing position and looking from one guy to another but that last part threw me off. But thanks all the same.
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    If you hadn't told me it was Harry Potter, i would have believed that it came straight out of Jane Eyre or was something penned by the Bronte sisters. The heaving of the breasts is several steps more sensual than blushing.
     

    .SB.

    Member
    Costa Rica. Native language: Spanish.
    I'm sorry I didn't quite understood that last sentence of yours, Harry Bat. Could you please explain it to me?
     

    .SB.

    Member
    Costa Rica. Native language: Spanish.
    If you hadn't told me it was Harry Potter, i would have believed that it came straight out of Jane Eyre or was something penned by the Bronte sisters. The heaving of the breasts is several steps more sensual than blushing.
    Harry Batt could you explain this to me? I'm sorry guys but once again I'm lost. If the sentence her breast heaving means that she was breathing fastly and deeply as if she was excited/anxious then what does it have to do with blushing? By the way, is the second underlined sentence written correctly? I am not sure if that was is correctly applied.
     

    lalettre

    Member
    English (British, Indian); Hindi
    If the sentence her breast heaving means that she was breathing fastly and deeply as if she was excited/anxious then what does it have to do with blushing? By the way, is the second underlined sentence written correctly? I am not sure if that was is correctly applied.
    Nothing really. I suppose he meant that 'heaving breasts' is more sensual because it conveys excitement, which blushing does not (to the same extent). I suppose, in the context of HP, the excitement has not much to do with sensuality (unless the one who's breasts are heaving has some sexual/sensual interest in the scene...)
     

    lalettre

    Member
    English (British, Indian); Hindi
    and about your doubt regarding your sentence, I think the ambiguity lies in your use of 'fastly' and 'deeply' rather than in the underlined part.
     

    .SB.

    Member
    Costa Rica. Native language: Spanish.
    Would it be better like this? ...means that she was breathing fast and deep as if she was excited
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    ...I was under the impression that the word "heave" meant lifting something through a great physical effort...

    Bella, who had leapt to her feet, was looking eagerly from Voldemort to Harry, her breasts heaving.
    .SB,

    Is breast singular? Usually they heave in pairs. I don't think I could get only one of mine to move all by itself. :D
    Used in a singular fashion, writers say chest, mostly.

    I think heaving is the operative word here, and you touched on the meaning very clearly! She was breathing fast and deep, making her breasts lift up and down quickly. It could be from fear, anticipation, lust, excitement, expectation...lots of different emotions.

    Rowling used this for dramatic effect, probably.


    AngelEyes
     

    .SB.

    Member
    Costa Rica. Native language: Spanish.
    .SB,

    Is breast singular? Usually they heave in pairs. I don't think I could get only one of mine to move all by itself. :D
    Used in a singular fashion, writers say chest, mostly.

    I think heaving is the operative word here, and you touched on the meaning very clearly! She was breathing fast and deep, making her breasts lift up and down quickly. It could be from fear, anticipation, lust, excitement, expectation...lots of different emotions.

    Rowling used this for dramatic effect, probably.


    AngelEyes
    Thanks Angeleyes, I don't know why I find it so hard to understand, I just thought she stoop and then she lost me. This seems pretty embarrassing now that I get it.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I don't think Bella's heaving breast (note in particular this is singular) is in any way sensual.
    Similarly, TheAmzngTwinWndr's reference in post #4 only applies with plural breasts.
    And Harry Batt's sense of suggestiveness (#6) is also only valid for plural breasts.

    This completely asexual expression is using breast to mean the front of the thorax or chest, the fore-part of the body, lying between the neck and the belly. I know it may seem difficult to distinguish between the two usages, but think of a robin redbreast. Other than for reasons of elbow-digging humour, no one considers a robin redbreast to have scarlet tits.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    This seems pretty embarrassing now that I get it.
    I noticed you're new here. If this is as embarrassing as it gets for you, consider yourself lucky! I've shamed myself a lot of times. But don't worry, we're a very forgiving people around here.

    And Panj, your explanation does seem to clarify the breast/breasts matter. It just seems awkward to me, but I'm sure you and I don't read the same kind of books. ;) Breasts heave in pairs in my world, no matter what the cause.

    Thanks for throwing that insight into the mix.

    AngelEyes
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I challenge every woman on this Forum to heave, and then look and see if only one moves up and down.

    Where are your figures from, Panj? I googled and got these results:
    Her heaving breast: 487,000
    Her heaving breasts: 799,00

    But I don't want to start a war over this. It's probably just me. It doesn't compute in a logical sense in my brain. When I heave, I require symmetry: Feng Shui and all that. :)

    A thought did occur to me. I wonder if this is an AE/BE difference?

    AngelEyes
     

    tinlizzy

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    For me sadly, it would be my chest. When I think of a heaving breast there are two but with a uni-boob appearance.
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Hmmmmm.....This is all very interesting indeed, when I read the first post in this thread, I thought the thread would end with only 2 or 3 posts because the meaning was very clear. But then........The boobs/breasts/breast/chest got the better of my favorite members here :rolleyes: :D

    I love AngelEyes' explanation "....She was breathing fast and deep, making her breasts lift up and down quickly. It could be from fear, anticipation, lust, excitement, expectation...lots of different emotions."

    And for that very reason, I stand by "......The heaving of the breasts is several steps more sensual than blushing." I think dear Harry Batt meant to say that "heaving breasts" suggests that you are several steps more "involved" in the situation, for whatever reason it is. And it does look more sensual than blushing.

    Last but not least, I don't think my right breast can stay still when the left one is heaving, and vice versa (maybe I will try to work on it, I promise :cool: :D)
     
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