- the abode of God, the angels, and the spirits of the righteous after death; the place or state of existence of the blessed after the mortal life.
- (initial capital letter) Often Heavens. the celestial powers; God.
- a metonym for God: May heaven help us!
- heavens, (used with a singular verb) a wooden roof or canopy over the outer stage of an Elizabethan theater.
- Usually heavens. the sky, firmament, or expanse of space surrounding the earth.
- a place or state of supreme happiness: She made his life a heaven on earth.
- heavens, (used to express emphasis, surprise, etc.): For heaven’s sake! Good heavens!
- move heaven and earth, to do one’s utmost to effect an end; make a supreme effort: She promised to move heaven and earth to be there for our wedding anniversary.
- (sometimes capital) Christianity
- the abode of God and the angels
- a place or state of communion with God after deathCompare hell
- (usually plural) the sky, firmament or space surrounding the earth
- (in any of various mythologies) a place, such as Elysium or Valhalla, to which those who have died in the gods’ favour are brought to dwell in happiness
- a place or state of joy and happiness
- (singular or plural; sometimes capital) God or the gods, used in exclamatory phrases of surprise, exasperation, etcfor heaven’s sake; heavens above
- in seventh heaven ecstatically happy
- move heaven and earth to do everything possible (to achieve something)
Old English heofon “home of God,” earlier “sky, firmament,” probably from Proto-Germanic *hibin-, dissimilated from *himin- (cf. Low German heben, Old Norse himinn, Gothic himins, Old Frisian himul, Dutch hemel, German Himmel “heaven, sky”), perhaps from PIE root *kem-/*kam- “to cover” (cf. chemise). [Watkins derives it elaborately from PIE *ak- “sharp” via *akman- “stone, sharp stone,” then “stony vault of heaven”].
Plural use in sense of “sky” is probably from Ptolemaic theory of space composed of many spheres, but it also formerly was used in the same sense as the singular in Biblical language, as a translation of Hebrew plural shamayim. Heaven-sent (adj.) attested from 1640s.
In addition to the idioms beginning with heaven
- heaven knows
- heavenly days
- for one’s (heaven’s) sake
- god (heaven) forbid
- god (heaven) knows
- in seventh heaven
- in the name of (heaven)
- manna from heaven
- move heaven and earth
- pennies from heaven
- seventh heaven
- stink to high heaven
- thank god (heaven)