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noun \ˈhaf, ˈhäf\

Simple Definition of half

  • : one of two equal or nearly equal parts into which something can be divided

  • : either of the two equal periods of playing time in sports like football and basketball

  • the half : the time when the first half of a game ends

Full Definition of half

plural halves play \ˈhavz, ˈhävz\

  1. 1 a :  either of two equal parts that compose something; also :  a part approximately equal to one of these <half the distance> <the larger half of the fortune> b :  half an hour —used in designation of time

  2. 2 :  one of a pair: as a :  partner b :  semester, term c :  either of the two equal periods that together make up the playing time of some games (as football); also :  the midpoint in playing time <the score was tied at the half>

  3. 3 :  half-dollar

  4. 4 :  halfback

by half
  1. :  by a great deal

by halves
  1. :  in part :  halfheartedly

half again as
  1. :  one-and-a-half times as <half again as many>

in half
  1. :  into two equal or nearly equal parts

Examples of half

  1. She broke each cookie into halves.

  2. Which half do you want? I'll take the smaller half.

  3. Two halves make a whole.

  4. The team fell behind in the first half but rallied in the second half to win the game.

  5. What's yours? A half of lager, please.

Origin of half

Middle English, from Old English healf; akin to Old High German halb half

First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Number-Related Terms

Rhymes with half




Simple Definition of half

  • : equal or nearly equal in size, value, amount, etc., to one half of something

  • : not complete

Full Definition of half

  1. 1 a :  being one of two equal parts <a half share> <a half sheet of paper> b (1) :  amounting to approximately half <a half mile> <a half million> (2) :  falling short of the full or complete thing :  partial <half measures> <a half smile>

  2. 2 :  extending over or covering only half <a half window> <a half mask>

half·ness noun

Examples of half

  1. a half cup of coffee

  2. He owns a half share in the company.

  3. a half pound of cheese

  4. She looked at him with a shy half smile.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of half

before 12th century

Other Number-Related Terms




Simple Definition of half

  • : to an extent that is equal or nearly equal to half of something

  • : not completely : to some degree

Full Definition of half

  1. 1 a :  in an equal part or degree <the crowd was half jeering, half respectful> b :  not completely :  partially <half persuaded>

  2. 2 :  by any means :  at all <her singing isn't half bad>

Examples of half

  1. The glass of water is half full.

  2. The crowd was half cheering and half jeering.

  3. The train departed at half past the hour.

  4. He was only half aware of what was happening.

  5. She had half persuaded me to stay.

  6. The door was half open.

  7. These eggs are only half cooked.

12th Century

First Known Use of half

12th century

Other Number-Related Terms

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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