1. comprising the full quantity, amount, extent, number, etc., without diminution or exception; entire, full, or total: He ate the whole pie. They ran the whole distance.
  2. containing all the elements properly belonging; complete: We have a whole set of antique china.
  3. undivided; in one piece: to swallow a thing whole.
  4. Mathematics. integral, or not fractional.
  5. not broken, damaged, or impaired; intact: Thankfully, the vase arrived whole.
  6. uninjured or unharmed; sound: He was surprised to find himself whole after the crash.
  7. pertaining to all aspects of human nature, especially one's physical, intellectual, and spiritual development: education for the whole person.
  1. the whole assemblage of parts or elements belonging to a thing; the entire quantity, account, extent, or number: He accepted some of the parts but rejected the whole.
  2. a thing complete in itself, or comprising all its parts or elements.
  3. an assemblage of parts associated or viewed together as one thing; a unitary system.
  1. as a whole, all things included or considered; altogether: As a whole, the relocation seems to have been beneficial.
  2. on/upon the whole,
    1. in view of all the circumstances; after consideration.
    2. disregarding exceptions; in general: On the whole, the neighborhood is improving.
  3. out of whole cloth, without foundation in fact; fictitious: a story made out of whole cloth.

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
Related formswhole·ness, nounself-whole, adjective
Can be confusedhole whole (see synonym study at hole) (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for whole

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.

Antonyms for whole

1. partial. 8. part.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wholer

Historical Examples of wholer

British Dictionary definitions for wholer


  1. containing all the component parts necessary to form a total; completea whole apple
  2. constituting the full quantity, extent, etc
  3. uninjured or undamaged
  4. healthy
  5. having no fractional or decimal part; integrala whole number
  6. of, relating to, or designating a relationship established by descent from the same parents; fullwhole brothers
  7. out of whole cloth US and Canadian informal entirely without a factual basis
  1. in an undivided or unbroken pieceto swallow a plum whole
  1. all the parts, elements, etc, of a thing
  2. an assemblage of parts viewed together as a unit
  3. a thing complete in itself
  4. as a whole considered altogether; completely
  5. 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 wholer



"entire body or company; the full amount," late 14c., from whole (adj.).



Old English hal "entire, unhurt, healthy," from Proto-Germanic *khailaz "undamaged" (cf. Old Saxon hel, Old Norse heill, Old Frisian hal, Middle Dutch hiel, Dutch heel, Old High German, German heil "salvation, welfare"), from PIE *koilas (cf. Old Church Slavonic celu "whole, complete;" see health). The spelling with wh- developed early 15c. The sense in whole number is from early 14c. For phrase whole hog, see hog.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wholer in Medicine


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


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.