[havz, hahvz]


plural of half.

Nearby words

  1. haler,
  2. halesowen,
  3. halevi,
  4. haley,
  5. haley, alex,
  6. half a heart, with,
  7. half a loaf is better than none,
  8. half a mind,
  9. half and half nail,
  10. half bath


    by halves,
    1. incompletely or partially: to do things by halves.
    2. halfheartedly: better not at all than by halves.
    go halves, to share equally; divide evenly.


[haf, hahf]

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.
  1. half dollar.
  2. 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.
British Informal.
  1. a half-crown coin.
  2. the sum of a half crown; two shillings, sixpence.
  3. a half pint: He ordered a half of ale.


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.

Origin of half

before 900; Middle English; Old English h(e)alf; cognate with German Halb, Old Norse halfr, Gothic halbs

Grammar note

See well1.


[hav, hahv]

verb (used with object), halved, halv·ing.

to divide into two equal parts.
to share equally: to halve one's rations with a stranger.
to reduce to half.
Golf. to play (a hole, round, or match) in the same number of strokes as one's opponent.

Origin of halve

1250–1300; Middle English halven, derivative of half

Related formsun·halved, adjective

Can be confusedhalve have

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for halves

British Dictionary definitions for halves


verb (tr)

to divide into two approximately equal parts
to share equally
to reduce by half, as by cutting
golf to take the same number of strokes on (a hole or round) as one's opponent

Word Origin for halve

Old English hielfan; related to Middle High German helben; see half


noun plural halves (hɑːvz)

  1. either of two equal or corresponding parts that together comprise a whole
  2. 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
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)
  1. to share the expenses (of something with one other person)
  2. to share the whole amount (of something with another person)to go halves on an orange


  1. being a half or approximately a halfhalf the kingdom
  2. (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
  1. not in any wayhe's not half clever enough
  2. Britishreally; very; indeedhe isn't half stupid
  3. certainly; yes, indeed
Related formsRelated prefixes: bi-, demi-, hemi-, semi-

Word Origin for half

Old English healf; related to Old Norse halfr, Old High German halb, Dutch half

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

Word Origin and History for halves
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with halves


see by halves; go halves. Also see under 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

also see:

  • 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.