A person holds a stone object in one hand. They throw it up and down in the air, in that hand, a few times, to judge the weight/feel/impact of the object.

Does this particular physical action have a (preferably non-sports-related) description?

"Jane 'popped(?)' the stone in her hand to judge its weight."

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    Hi, and welcome to Writers. Requests for single words or phrases are not on-topic for us but may be acceptable on English. Aug 2 '19 at 9:57
  • As Lauren says, the query may be more on-topic at English Language and Usage using the 'single word request' tag. But do read the tag info before you post and ensure that you have met the requirements. They get a lot of SWRs and it's polite to fllow the Stack rules to make it easier for folk to help you. Also, I'd go for 'heft', as in 'Jane hefted the stone experimentally and smiled in satisfaction, perfect!'
    – Spagirl
    Aug 2 '19 at 15:44
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    Why not "tossed?" Or maybe "flipped," as in flipping a coin? "Hefted" was the first thing that came to mind here also, but maybe that sounds a little too heavy (depending on intended weight of the stone, of course). "Popped" suggests that it was easily lifted and... err... tossed. Aug 2 '19 at 19:03
  • I will point out the OP did NOT specifically ask for a single word, he asked for a "description", and there is no single world I am aware of that conveys all he intends to convey learning the "weight, feel, impact" of the item. "Heft" is limited to testing the weight, not the feel or hardness of the object. I can heft a soft grapefruit, or a rock with sharp edges uncomfortable to throw. Likewise with "tossing", if you don't describe what she is testing for, you have not conveyed the point of the tossing.
    – Amadeus
    Aug 2 '19 at 19:58
  • What I meant to suggest was that replacing "popped" with "tossed" or "flipped" gets you an adequate description, aside from that apostrophe -- not that the word "tossed" would convey that meaning by itself. Sorry if the comment was unclear (and now I see those were both eventually suggested in the answers here, but I'll leave the comment because I think simply swapping the word out will suffice). Aug 2 '19 at 21:05

Jane popped the stone in her hand.

First, I think you know that isn't the right word, the image is like popping a balloon.

Second, don't tell us, just show us, describe the scene, and don't worry about if it takes more words. Don't make us guess what she's doing, show us, and tell us what she is thinking, so we become immersed in being Jane for a moment.

Making one up:

Jane picked up the stone. Her grip felt right, it had the right heft, it felt solid and wouldn't break. She turned it, no sharp edges to cut her. She tossed it about a foot in the air and caught it. It wasn't awkward, she could hunt with it. Take a squirrel. Even a rabbit. Gods, she'd kill for a fat rabbit about now. She added the stone to her pouch, and continued walking, scanning the ground for more weapons.


Unless you are writing a police report or a scientific article, where telling the facts is of paramount importance, I fail to see the benefit or purpose of such a description.

If the weighting of the object is the central point of the narration, then there is no need to tell it to the reader; in fact by this point it should be clear that she needs to weigh the object.

On the other hand, if the weighting is not the central point of the narration, then don't mention it. Breaking the narration to insert an action like the one you intend to use is equivalent to a Cechov's gun: it needs to serve a purpose that could not be guessed otherwise from the rest of the story. The important point with a Cechov's gun is that you don't need to tell its purpose: you are going to show it later.

To give an example of the latter point: Jane is at home, talking to her brother, and she is playing with the stone, checking the weight... suddenly she is at the window and throws the stone as far as she can. It is surprising, but foreshadowed. Your description is the foreshadowing. In contrast, if she has been talking to her brother about the stone, and how heavy it is, then you could just rely on the dialogue and remove the description altogether. If you really have to place the description, keep it short, and refrain from explaining the purpose of it:

The stone felt heavy in her hand.


Dropping it would have made a good dent on the metal tray.


Her forearm was bulging and shaking while she held the stone in front of her.


She kept flipping the stone in her palm.

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    'I fail to see the benefit or purpose of such a description' As we know nothing about the OP's writing how can you possibly justify such an opinion? There are any number of reasons a character may be shown to be assessing the weight of a stone. The OP is asking if there is a term which specifically describes the action, your suggested descriptions address the weight of the stone, not the action of her assessing the weight.
    – Spagirl
    Aug 2 '19 at 15:36
  • @Spagirl i) second paragraph in my answer: either it is central to the story, and then it is redundant to say that she is weighting the stone, or it is not relevant to the story and it is just a jarring interruption to read; ii) finding the right term would be a question for ELL.SE; iii) the "it's" in the OP's quoted text suggested that the OP may need a broader view on the question.
    – NofP
    Aug 2 '19 at 15:49

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