a dead weight

a dead weight

 
1. if someone is a dead weight, they are very heavy and difficult to carry, often because they are not conscious Tom was a dead weight and her muscles ached as she carried him upstairs.
2. something or someone who prevents other people from making progress We must free ourselves from the dead weight of history. She's just a dead weight on the business at the moment.
See also: dead, weight
References in classic literature ?
Marian had been like a sack of meal, a dead weight of plumpness under which he has literally staggered.
Before I could stoop for it there was a dead weight on my left arm, and Squire Rattray was over the table at a bound, with his arms jostling mine beneath Eva Denison's senseless form.
There was a noise like that of a stone hitting a wall, a deep groan, her grasp relaxed, and she dropped a dead weight upon the pavement, while the Admiral sprang back and raised his stick once more, ready either for attack or defense.
In such a party, Harriet would be rather a dead weight than otherwise; but for the poor girl herself, it seemed a peculiarly cruel necessity that was to be placing her in such a state of unmerited punishment.
He felt the woman who was clinging to his arm become suddenly a dead weight.
They unloaded a dead weight in Jeff Cirillo, but they also lost Mike Cameron, who might have had an inconsistent bat but was in the upper echelon of defensive center fielders.