a dead weight

dead weight

1. The weight of someone who is sleeping, unconscious, or intentionally limp, making them more difficult to move or carry than they would be otherwise. Jamie struggled with the dead weight of her sleeping 10-year-old son when she tried to carry him to bed.
2. A burden that holds someone or something else back or prevents progress; someone or something that when handled or associated with conveys only difficulty and not benefit. You've been dead weight this entire road trip. You've just sat there without driving or paying for gas or anything! All those empty containers are dead weight. We're going to have to jettison them if we want to have enough fuel to make it back.
See also: dead, weight

a dead weight

A dead weight is something that makes change or progress extremely difficult. We must reduce the dead weight of bureaucracy. The company is already struggling under the dead weight of $14 billion debt.
See also: dead, weight
References in periodicals archive ?
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.