View synonyms for holistic


[ hoh-lis-tik ]


  1. incorporating the concept of holism, or the idea that the whole is more than merely the sum of its parts, in theory or practice:

    holistic psychology.

  2. Medicine/Medical. of or relating to a form of medicine, such as chiropractic or naturopathy, concerned with the care of the entire person in all aspects of well-being, including the physical, psychological, and social, rather than with diseases and symptoms in isolation, and often using natural or traditional remedies: Her holistic practitioner prescribed dietary changes and some relaxation exercises to reduce the frequency of her migraines.

    Someholistic medicine draws on traditional herbal preparations to maintain the health of different organs of the body.

    Her holistic practitioner prescribed dietary changes and some relaxation exercises to reduce the frequency of her migraines.


/ həʊˈlɪstɪk /


  1. of or relating to a doctrine of holism
  2. of or relating to the the medical consideration of the complete person, physically and psychologically, in the treatment of a disease

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Derived Forms

  • hoˈlistically, adverb

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Other Words From

  • ho·lis·ti·cal·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of holistic1

First recorded in 1926; hol(ism) + -istic

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Example Sentences

Like viewers of a pointillist painting, state- and district-level decision-makers see a holistic picture, grounded in legislation, local politics, assessment trends, and parent advocacy.

Enabling a holistic approach to content drives impact and engagementIf teams and content creators are not aligned on overarching goals, they could be wasting their time creating assets that aren’t useful to the overall campaign.

From Digiday

Founded in 2019, Sofia Health is a digital platform for connecting prospective patients with physicians and specialists in western, alternative, and holistic medicine.

From Fortune

The understanding that these problems require holistic solutions has only grown amid the pandemic and its fallout.

From Time

Netflix has produced diversity reports every quarter since 2013, but this week it released its first inclusion report, meant to be a holistic look at rates of recruitment, retention, and promotion of underrepresented groups at the streaming company.

From Quartz

Writing the book has given Cumming “some sense of closure,” a statement of a “more holistic version of me.”

The plan is to build a holistic cloud operating system for businesses and individuals, enabling a new generation of work and play.

The appeal of this holistic medicine culture does need to be understood better by the modern medical establishment.

And while technology can help sharpen the brain and calm the nerves, true mental health is much more holistic.

It should be part of a healthy holistic daily routine that includes brushing your teeth and cleaning your tongue.

Drawings are holistic units of a complexity difficult to compare to that of a text.

Holistic therapies, like meditation, are "fringe" therapies.

Although holism sees human beings as integral organisms, holistic approaches are inclined to have this physical focus.

Of these holistic therapies, bioenergetics is perhaps considered the most respectable because it is used by some psychologists.

Education needs to shift from the atomistic view that isolates subjects from the whole of reality to a holistic perspective.


Related Words

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More About Holistic

What does holistic mean?

Holistic is an adjective that describes things related to the idea that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In other words, that the entirety of something must be considered instead of just considering its parts.

This philosophy is called holism, and that’s where the word holistic comes from. Holistic can be used generally to describe approaches that incorporate elements of holism, but it is especially used in the contexts of psychology and alternative medicine.

Example: Chiropractors often take a holistic approach to treating injuries by considering the entire body instead of just the affected area.

Where does holistic come from?

Holism was coined by Jan Christian Smuts in his 1926 book Holism and Evolution (Smuts completed the work between serving terms as prime minister of South Africa). The first part of the word, hol, refers to “whole,” and the suffix -ism means “principle” or “doctrine.” In holistic, the suffix -istic is used to make it an adjective.

In medical contexts, holistic describes an approach that attempts to treat the overall well-being of a person, including physically, psychologically, and socially. Because this approach differs from traditional Western medicine, holistic treatments are often associated with alternative medicine. Many practitioners of holistic medicine operate under the philosophy that the body must be treated as a whole unit, taking into account the complex interactions of its parts. A similar approach is associated with the use of the term holistic in psychology: the mind is studied as a single unit, rather than a combination of its different parts or functions.

Holistic is sometimes used more generally in the context of business and other fields. This usually involves analyzing an organization, project, or process as a whole, especially in order to be more effective or efficient (as in We need to take a holistic approach to this restructuring process). However, holistic in this context is sometimes seen as a buzzword, especially since it may be unclear what exactly it is supposed to mean.

When holistic is used in the context of alternative medicine, some people may perceive it as being unscientific.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms of holistic?

  • holistically (adverb)
  • holism (noun)
  • wholistic (alternate spelling)

What are some words that share a root or word element with holistic

What are some words that often get used in discussing holistic?


How is holistic used in real life?

Holistic is often used in reference to alternative medicine, but its use has become more common in many other contexts.




Try using holistic!

True or false? 

If you take a holistic approach, you primarily focus on the individual parts of something.