[ haf, hahf ]
/ hæf, hɑf /
noun, plural halves [havz, hahvz]. /hævz, hɑvz/.
one of two equal or approximately equal parts of a divisible whole, as an object, or unit of measure or time; a part of a whole equal or almost equal to the remainder.
a quantity or amount equal to such a part (½).
Sports. either of two equal periods of play, usually with an intermission or rest period separating them.Compare quarter (def. 10).
one of two; a part of a pair.
- half dollar.
- the sum of 50 cents: Four dimes and two nickels make a half.
Baseball. either of the two units of play into which an inning is divided, the visiting team batting in the first unit and the home team batting in the second.
Football. a halfback.
being one of two equal or approximately equal parts of a divisible whole: a half quart.
being half or about half of anything in degree, amount, length, etc.: at half speed; half sleeve.
partial or incomplete: half measures.
in or to the extent or measure of half.
in part; partly; incompletely: half understood.
to some extent; almost: half recovered.
DISCOVER THE INFLUENCE OF PORTUGUESE ON ENGLISH VIA THIS QUIZ!
We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?
Idioms for half
by half, by very much; by far: She was too talented by half for her routine role.
half again as much / many, as much as 50 percent more: This mug holds half again as much coffee as the smaller one.
- not at all; not really: His first attempts at painting are not half bad.
- half (def. 20).
half in two, Southern U.S. (chiefly Gulf States). in or into two parts; in half: Cut the cake half in two.
in half, divided into halves: The vase broke in half.
not the half of, a significant yet relatively minor part of something that remains to be described in full: He accused them of being responsible for the error, and that's not the half of the story.Also not half of, not half.
Origin of half
before 900; Middle English; Old English h(e)alf; cognate with German Halb,Old Norse halfr,Gothic halbs
grammar notes for half
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
British Dictionary definitions for half (1 of 2)
/ (hɑːf) /
noun plural halves (hɑːvz)
- either of two equal or corresponding parts that together comprise a whole
- a quantity equalling such a parthalf a dozen
half a pint, esp of beer
Scot a small drink of spirits, esp whisky
sport the half of the pitch regarded as belonging to one team
golf an equal score on a hole or round with an opponent
(in various games) either of two periods of play separated by an interval (the first half and second half)
a half-price ticket on a bus, train, etc
short for half-hour
short for halfpenny (def. 1)
sport short for halfback
obsolete a half-year period
better half jocular a person's wife or husband
by half by an excessive amount or to an excessive degreehe's too arrogant by half
by halves (used with a negative) without being thorough or exhaustivewe don't do things by halves
go halves (often foll by on, in, etc)
- to share the expenses (of something with one other person)
- to share the whole amount (of something with another person)to go halves on an orange
- being a half or approximately a halfhalf the kingdom
- (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural)half of them came
not perfect or complete; partialhe only did a half job on it
to the amount or extent of a half
to a great amount or extent
partially; to an extent
half two informal 30 minutes after two o'clock
have half a mind to to have the intention of
not half informal
- not in any wayhe's not half clever enough
- British really; very; indeedhe isn't half stupid
- certainly; yes, indeed
Other words from halfRelated prefixes: bi-, demi-, hemi-, semi-
Word Origin for half
Old English healf; related to Old Norse halfr, Old High German halb, Dutch half
British Dictionary definitions for half (2 of 2)
one of two equal partshalf-moon
related by one parent onlyhalf-sister
not completely; partlyhalf-hardy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Idioms and Phrases with half
In addition to the idioms beginning with half
- half a heart, with
- half a loaf is better than none
- half a mind
- half of it
- half the battle
- at half-mast
- better half
- by half
- glass is half full
- go halfway
- go off (half-cocked)
- in half
- not bad (half bad)
- six of one, half dozen of the other
- time and a half
- with half an eye
Also see underhalfwayhalves.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.