Nearby words

  1. whoa,
  2. whodunit,
  3. whodunnit,
  4. whoe'er,
  5. whoever,
  6. whole ball of wax, the,
  7. whole blood,
  8. whole brother,
  9. whole cloth,
  10. whole gale


Origin of whole

before 900; Middle English hole, hool (adj. and noun), Old English hāl (adj.); cognate with Dutch heel, German heil, Old Norse heill; see hale1, heal; spelling with w reflects dial. form

1. undiminished, integral, complete. 5. unimpaired, perfect. 8. totality, aggregate. Whole, total mean the entire or complete sum or amount. The whole is all there is; every part, member, aspect; the complete sum, amount, quantity of anything, not divided; the entirety: the whole of one's property, family. Total also means whole, complete amount, or number, but conveys the idea of something added together or added up: The total of their gains amounted to millions.

Related formswhole·ness, nounself-whole, adjective

Can be confusedhole whole (see synonym study at hole) (see synonym study at the current entry)

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

Examples from the Web for whole

British Dictionary definitions for whole



containing all the component parts necessary to form a total; completea whole apple
constituting the full quantity, extent, etc
uninjured or undamaged
having no fractional or decimal part; integrala whole number
of, relating to, or designating a relationship established by descent from the same parents; fullwhole brothers
out of whole cloth US and Canadian informal entirely without a factual basis


in an undivided or unbroken pieceto swallow a plum whole


all the parts, elements, etc, of a thing
an assemblage of parts viewed together as a unit
a thing complete in itself
as a whole considered altogether; completely
on the whole
  1. taking all things into consideration
  2. in general
Derived Formswholeness, noun

Word Origin for whole

Old English hāl, hǣl; related to Old Frisian hāl, hēl, Old High German heil, Gothic hails; compare hale 1

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 whole
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for whole




Not wounded, injured, or impaired; sound or unhurt.
Having been restored; healed.


An entity or system made up of interrelated parts.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with whole


In addition to the idioms beginning with whole

  • whole ball of wax, the
  • whole hog
  • whole kit and caboodle, the
  • whole megillah
  • whole new ballgame, a
  • whole nine yards, the
  • whole shebang

also see:

  • as a whole
  • go whole hog
  • on the whole
  • out of whole cloth
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.