\ ˈhaf How to pronounce half (audio) , ˈhäf\
plural halves\ ˈhavz How to pronounce halves (audio) , ˈhävz \

Definition of half

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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 half past two
2 : one of a pair: such as
a : partner
b : semester, term
c : either of the two equal periods that together make up the playing time of some games (such as football) also : the midpoint in playing time the score was tied at the half
4 : halfback
by half
: by a great deal too clever by half
by halves
: in part : half-heartedly She never does things by halves.
half again as
: one-and-a-half times as half again as many
in half
: into two equal or nearly equal parts cut the apple in half



Definition of half (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : being one of two equal parts a half share a half sheet of paper
b(1) : that is approximately equal to either of two equal parts that compose something : 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 : extending over one of two equal parts of something : covering only half a half window a half mask



Definition of half (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : in an equal part or degree the crowd was half jeering, half respectful
b : not completely : partially half persuaded
2 : by any means : at all her singing isn't half bad

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from half


halfness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for half

Synonyms: Noun


Synonyms: Adjective

deficient, fragmental, fragmentary, halfway, incomplete, partial

Synonyms: Adverb

anywise, at all, ever

Antonyms: Adjective

complete, entire, full, intact, integral, perfect, whole

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of half in a Sentence


She broke each cookie into halves. “Which half do you want?” “I'll take the smaller half.” Two halves make a whole. The team fell behind in the first half but rallied in the second half to win the game. “What's yours?” “A half of lager, please.”


a half cup of coffee He owns a half share in the company. a half pound of cheese She looked at him with a shy half smile.


The glass of water is half full. The crowd was half cheering and half jeering. The train departed at half past the hour. He was only half aware of what was happening. She had half persuaded me to stay. The door was half open. These eggs are only half cooked.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The conflict turns on whether the Berkeley Student Cooperative is living up to its mission to provide affordable housing for low-income students — just half of the students living in co-op housing are considered low-income. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: The Camp Fire destroyed his home — and he works for the company that caused it," 10 June 2019 In the area surrounding the school in the city’s North End, less than half of households have home access. Michael Melia, courant.com, "‘Homework gap’ shows millions of students, including those in Hartford’s North End, lack home internet," 10 June 2019 Samimi was given less than half of the doses of medications prescribed, according to a Detainee Death Review, first obtained by Rocky Mountain PBS. Hannah Rappleye And Lisa Riordan Seville, NBC News, "24 immigrants have died in ICE custody during the Trump administration," 9 June 2019 But their $15,000 abolished $4 million of debt for the entire diocese, which stretches across the southern half of the state. Kaiser Health News, oregonlive.com, "Churches take lead in helping poor with medical debt," 9 June 2019 Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed half of Chicago’s mental health clinics, in a controversial move. Lisa Donovan, chicagotribune.com, "The Spin: Here’s what the Cubs ownership has to say about a GOP fundraiser that will make its way toward the friendly confines," 6 June 2019 That’s why their half of the economy is more dynamic than the half in which risk-averse CEOs and boards prioritize share price and market share. ... Hector Barreto, WSJ, "On China Trade, Trump Is All Business," 6 June 2019 Central Indiana could possibly get an inch to an inch and a half of rain, according to NWS. Crystal Hill, Indianapolis Star, "Yes, more rain is on the way. Here's why it's been raining so much in Central Indiana.," 5 June 2019 The Kansas City area could see up to a half of an inch of rain. Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity, "Storm threat shifts east of Kansas City, but region may see more flooding and hail," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The 20-year veteran completed passes to a baker’s dozen targets, including a half-dozen newcomers. Jim Mcbride, BostonGlobe.com, "Jerod Mayo’s impressive return, and other minicamp takeaways," 11 June 2019 In the crowd of about 70 people were familiar faces, including Wakolee’s best friends, and others, including a half-dozen state troopers and government officials from Juneau. Anchorage Daily News, "Discussing Alaska’s history of sexual violence is one step toward seeking solutions," 11 June 2019 There were a half-dozen spills reported in Boulder County along its eastern edge last year, the report showed. Sam Lounsberry, The Denver Post, "Dozens of oil, gas-related spills in Carbon Valley, eastern Boulder County among state’s extraction fluid leaks in 2018," 9 June 2019 Outside the yoga pavilion, a half-dozen vacationers grabbed mats and laid them on the dewy grass, the view like a postcard. Sarah Z. Wexler, Marie Claire, "Can Love for Yoga Be Learned?," 7 June 2019 In recent weeks, at least a half-dozen Florida food service workers have tested positive for the virus, which can be spread through food or drinks touched by someone who is infected. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, "Third restaurant worker in West Palm Beach tests positive for Hepatitis A," 3 June 2019 Since Mueller began his investigation in 2017, a half-dozen of former Trump aids were indicted or convicted of crimes, most of which included conspiracy or lying to investigators. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Mueller Report Finds No Evidence of Trump-Russia Collusion," 24 Mar. 2019 Along with Glazer, one of the leaders of the field a half-century ago was the University of Chicago’s James Coleman. Jackson Toby, WSJ, "Left-Wing Politics and the Decline of Sociology," 25 Jan. 2019 But Americium-241, a synthetic chemical element, has a half life of 432 years. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Climate Change Could Unleash Long-Frozen Radiation," 15 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Call me a pessimist, but a bathtub with an overflow drain is a tub that’s almost always half empty. Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping, "This $9 Drain Cover Solves Your Biggest Bathtub Problem," 30 May 2019 Paul Brown Stadium was half-empty for the final home game, an indication fans had given up on the team and were hoping for change. USA TODAY, "Bengals give coach Marvin Lewis 2-year extension," 2 Jan. 2018 Jamie is clearly interested in Callie, and Callie is half-heartedly interested in him as well. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "The Fosters Series Finale Part 2 Recap: Never Sign A Pre-Nuptial Agreement," 6 June 2018 The big department store was built in the late 1920s with an enlargement of the Arcade Building’s north half, the part facing Union Street, between First and Second avenues. Paul Dorpat, The Seattle Times, "The fate of the Rhodes Stores turned on a dime," 26 Oct. 2018 From leaping dolphins and playful sea lions to the cluster's famous Galapagos penguins (the only species of the birds that live above the equator) and iconic tortoises, there’s plenty to learn and explore — and the pictures won’t be half bad either. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "6 Luxury Pre-Planned Trips You Need to Book Immediately," 15 Mar. 2019 From homes to hospitals to diners, every room is only half-lit, as if urban blight were forcing people to save on their power bills. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Seven Seconds': TV Review," 21 Feb. 2018 Right now half—half—of all counties in the U.S. do not have a single obstetrician. Barbara Brody, Glamour, "The Ob-Gyn Shortage Is Real—And It Might Impact Your Care," 14 Nov. 2018 However, when the former married Giovanni’s half-sister, Nicolosia, in 1453, the two painters entered into a close creative dialogue. Mary Tompkins Lewis, WSJ, "‘Mantegna and Bellini’ Review: A Family Affair," 3 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'half.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of half


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for half

Noun, Adjective, and Adverb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about half

Statistics for half

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for half

The first known use of half was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for half



English Language Learners Definition of half

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: 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 time when the first half of a game ends



English Language Learners Definition of half (Entry 2 of 3)

: equal or nearly equal in size, value, amount, etc., to one half of something
: not complete



English Language Learners Definition of half (Entry 3 of 3)

: to an extent that is equal or nearly equal to half of something
: not completely : to some degree


\ ˈhaf How to pronounce half (audio) , ˈhäf\
plural halves\ ˈhavz , ˈhävz \

Kids Definition of half

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : one of two equal parts into which something can be divided Cut it in half.
2 : a part of something that is about equal to the remainder half the distance
3 : one of a pair I missed the first half of the game.



Kids Definition of half (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : being one of two equal parts Add a half cup of milk.
2 : amounting to about a half : partial She gave a half smile.



Kids Definition of half (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to the extent of half half full
2 : not completely She was half asleep.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on half

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with half

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for half

Spanish Central: Translation of half

Nglish: Translation of half for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of half for Arabic Speakers

Comments on half

What made you want to look up half? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!