[ hohl-suhm ]
/ ˈhoʊl səm /


conducive to moral or general well-being; salutary; beneficial: wholesome recreation; wholesome environment.
conducive to bodily health; healthful; salubrious: wholesome food; wholesome air; wholesome exercise.
suggestive of physical or moral health, especially in appearance.
healthy or sound.

Nearby words

  1. wholeness,
  2. wholesale,
  3. wholesale price index,
  4. wholesaler,
  5. wholesaling,
  6. wholesomely,
  7. wholetime,
  8. wholewheat,
  9. wholism,
  10. wholistic

Origin of wholesome

1150–1200; Middle English ho(o)lsom (see whole, -some1); cognate with Old High German heilsam, Old Norse heilsamr

Related formswhole·some·ly, adverbwhole·some·ness, noun

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

Examples from the Web for wholesome

British Dictionary definitions for wholesome


/ (ˈhəʊlsəm) /


conducive to health or physical wellbeing
conducive to moral wellbeing
characteristic or suggestive of health or wellbeing, esp in appearance
Derived Formswholesomely, adverbwholesomeness, noun

Word Origin for wholesome

C12: from whole (healthy) + -some 1; related to German heilsam healing

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 wholesome



c.1200, "of benefit to the soul," from whole (in the "healthy" sense) + -some (1). Physical sense first attested late 14c. Related: Wholesomely; wholesomeness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper