[ hohl ]
See synonyms for whole on Thesaurus.com
  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.

  1. undivided; in one piece: to swallow a thing whole.

  2. Mathematics. integral, or not fractional.

  3. not broken, damaged, or impaired; intact: Thankfully, the vase arrived whole.

  4. uninjured or unharmed; sound: He was surprised to find himself whole after the crash.

  5. 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.

  1. an assemblage of parts associated or viewed together as one thing; a unitary system.

Idioms about whole

  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,

    • in view of all the circumstances; after consideration: There were upsides and downsides, but on the whole I thought it best to make the trip now rather than later.

    • disregarding exceptions; in general: On the whole, the neighborhood is improving.

  1. out of whole cloth, without foundation in fact; fictitious: a story made out of whole cloth.

Origin of whole

First recorded before 900; Middle English adjective and noun hole, hool, Old English adjective hāl; cognate with Dutch heel, German heil, Old Norse heill; see hale1, heal; spelling with w reflects dialect form

synonym study For whole

8. 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.

Other words for whole

Opposites for whole

Other words from whole

  • whole·ness, noun
  • self-whole, adjective

Words that may be confused with whole

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use whole in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for whole


/ (həʊl) /

  1. containing all the component parts necessary to form a total; complete: a whole apple

  2. constituting the full quantity, extent, etc

  1. uninjured or undamaged

  2. healthy

  3. having no fractional or decimal part; integral: a whole number

  4. of, relating to, or designating a relationship established by descent from the same parents; full: whole brothers

  5. out of whole cloth US and Canadian informal entirely without a factual basis

  1. in an undivided or unbroken piece: to swallow a plum whole

  1. all the parts, elements, etc, of a thing

  2. an assemblage of parts viewed together as a unit

  1. a thing complete in itself

  2. as a whole considered altogether; completely

  3. on the whole

    • taking all things into consideration

    • in general

Origin of whole

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

Derived forms of whole

  • wholeness, noun

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

Other 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.