• I came across a sentence "They were wearing heavy black coats" . I want to know what 'heavy' means here. Does it mean the coat was heavy ( maybe the materials used to make the coat are of high density to make it thick enough to keep warm) ? Or does it mean the color of the coat was very dark? And what about light grey jacet? Is it talking about the color or the weight ? THanks .

  • 1
    MIB HC - Men in black heavy coats. Nov 7, 2013 at 1:24
  • The opposite of "light" in the colour "light grey" is "dark grey", not "heavy grey". The opposite of "light" in "light jacket" is indeed "heavy jacket". Nov 7, 2013 at 8:50

2 Answers 2


"Heavy" in "heavy black coats" is a reference to the thickness of the fabric. It is not, for instance, a light windbreaker, it's made of a relatively sturdy fabric. There is not generally a "heavy black" color, though one might see it in literary contexts.

The "light" in "light gray jacket," however, I would usually take to mean a jacket of unspecified weight in a light-gray color, unless context clearly indicated "light" was a fabric weight.

  • … or unless a comma separated the two adjectives: a light, grey jacket would be a grey jacket made of a light fabric, while a light-grey jacket would be a jacket of a light-grey colour, and a light grey jacket could be either, depending on context. Nov 7, 2013 at 1:38
  • Correct, and a good real-life example of when punctuation matters.
    – Kevin
    Nov 7, 2013 at 1:40
  • We're lucky they weren't wearing heavy light grey jackets. Or, even worse, light light grey jackets. Nov 7, 2013 at 8:54

If I were writing that sentence and intended to use the word heavy in reference to the color, I would personally hyphenate it to become heavy-black coat. It would be even more necessary in light grey, seeing as "light" is a common word with which to define both color and coats, whereas I've never heard "heavy" being used for color.


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