\ 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

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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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Seven-year-old Jakelin Caal died on December 8 after being taken into custody at the border a day and a half earlier. Kaylen Ralph, Teen Vogue, "8-Year-Old Felipe Gomez Alonzo's Family and Community Is Mourning His Death in Border Patrol Custody," 2 Jan. 2019 In fact, to hear Blandino and McDonald tell it, most of the furniture in the home remains in mint condition a year and a half after the couple officially moved in. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "Tour the Maximalist Dream Home of Two California Beauty Gurus," 6 Feb. 2019 In the last year and a half, Instacart has reduced its dependence on Whole Foods by signing delivery deals with giant chains like Kroger, Aldi, Sam’s Club and Walmart Canada. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Facebook wants you to buy — and watch — HBO on Facebook," 14 Dec. 2018 They were first linked together a year and a half ago, after they were spotted at her Super Bowl performance and then again at a Kings of Leon concert. Vogue, "Who Is Lady Gaga’s Fiancé, Christian Carino?," 16 Oct. 2018 Now that she's been a soloist for a good year and a half, imagine her swiping on black lipstick before taking the stage. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Why K-Pop Star Chung Ha Washes Her Face Three Times Every Night," 3 Aug. 2018 There are currently 41 reviews on Airbnb for The Zelda Suite, which has four and a half stars. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "Literary Fans Rejoice! You Can Rent A Suite In F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's Former Home on Airbnb," 21 Feb. 2019 The Kardashian-West fam's newest abode boasts four bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, 4,700 square feet of space, and a wraparound terrace. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kanye West Bought Kim Kardashian a $14 Million Christmas Gift," 29 Dec. 2018 While the Institute has not tested this Bella air fryer specifically, Macy's reviewers gave it a promising four-and-a-half star rating. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Macy’s Best Black Friday Sale Is This $8 Air Fryer," 23 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That’s the equivalent of taking over half a million cars off the road for a full year. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Olivia Wilde Gets Candid About Secondhand Shopping and America’s “Flimsy” Grasp On the Lifespan of Our Clothes," 16 Apr. 2019 The date was April 15, 2009, when as many as half a million people joined more than 500 rallies across the country—and Washington took note. Jessica Anderson, WSJ, "The Tea Party Succeeded, but Not at Policy," 14 Apr. 2019 Knowles says that the R-compound tires are supposed to lower your lap time by a half second per kilometer, compared to regular Sport Cup 2 Rs. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Driving the Porsche GT3 RS and GT2 RS, the New Quickest Production Cars," 5 Apr. 2019 Then, place your ring finger next to your inner eye and, with light pressure, trace a half circle underneath your eyes, up to the temples. Elizabeth Kiefer, The Seattle Times, "Jade rollers: Puffy-eye wonder cure or sham?," 26 Mar. 2019 In just the past year, the hotel has been joined by the Sleepy Bee Cafe, which opened a location on Fourth Street, east of Vine;and the City Club Apartments, which opened a 294-unit luxury apartment complex about a half-block south of Starbucks. Randy Tucker, Cincinnati.com, "Two historic Downtown buildings up for sale along fast-developing Fourth Street corridor," 12 July 2018 Transfer half the batter (about 1 1/2 cups) to a bowl and stir in cocoa. Kate Merker, Country Living, "Chocolate-Matcha Swirl Pound Cake," 19 Mar. 2019 Kate Middleton and Prince William are taking the week off from their royal duties, thanks to a half-term break that's keeping both Prince George and Princess Charlotte home for a few days. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Why Prince William and Kate Middleton Won't Be Making Any Appearances This Week," 19 Feb. 2019 Even though this is a construction project that will span a half-dozen years, a daily urgency underlies the operation as the race to claim market share simmers. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "America's New Energy Coast," 19 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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 Meghan Markle’s half-brother has resurfaced once again. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Meghan Markle's estranged half-brother demands relatives to be treated like Kate Middleton's family," 22 Aug. 2018 Meanwhile, in the present, King Orm (Patrick Wilson) — Arthur’s half-brother, born to Queen Atlanna and a different father — wants to make Atlantis great again. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Aquaman goes for broke and lands somewhere between overstuffed marine opera and cheesy comic book fun," 11 Dec. 2018 In 2018’s first half, Goldman made $767 million in pretax profits in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, about 11% of the firmwide total. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Goldman Changes Asia Banking Leadership as New CEO Digs In," 20 Oct. 2018 Busted for code violation #alizecornet took 10 sec to turn top right way but #novacdjokovic can sit for minutes half-naked. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Watch: Serena Williams calls out sexism in tennis after US Open loss," 9 Sep. 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.

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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

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Statistics for half

Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for half

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

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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.

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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).


having no equal

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