\ ˈhaf, ˈhäf\
plural halves\ ˈhavz , 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

At the time Alice Marie Johnson was almost a decade and a half into her sentence. Jessica Chou, Glamour, "Shawn Holley Will Free You Now," 11 Dec. 2018 Overall this unit feels substantial without being too heavy, around three and a half ounces. Andrew Northshield, Popular Mechanics, "A Former Marine Tests the Best Headlamps," 6 Nov. 2018 In just three and a half days, Nancy Fire clocked 40 miles walking through exhibit after exhibit at Paris's Maison & Objet, one of the world's biggest interior design fairs. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Warning: You're Going To Be Obsessed With These Two Color Trends," 25 Sep. 2018 Splitting up under ~ unusual ~ circumstances Sterling and Ryan dated on and off in college but then broke up for a solid three and a half years. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Star Sterling K. Brown and His Wife Once Broke Up for the "Craziest" Reason," 17 Sep. 2018 Famed actor Alan Alda revealed on Tuesday that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three and a half years ago. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Alan Alda reveals he has Parkinson's disease," 31 July 2018 After originally getting a week and a half to make the corrections, the deadline was pushed from May 30 to July 9 — a 5½-week extension. Allie Gross, Detroit Free Press, "On deadline day, workers begin boarding up Ilitch buildings on Cass," 9 July 2018 The same dynamic is now playing out in Germany: The national team's reinvention over the past decade and a half is in no small part thanks to an influx of immigrant youths schooled in the country's industrial heartlands. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The World Cup is a celebration of cosmopolitanism, until it isn’t," 4 July 2018 Some 100,000 new residents have moved to Washington over the past decade and a half, and a roughly even number of jobs have been created, said Claire Zippel, an analyst with the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, a think tank. The Christian Science Monitor, "Washington D.C. sued for putting 'creative class' above minority communities," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

An expert will guide your small group to a half-dozen local eateries, pointing out historic sites (such as remnants of the old city wall and the 16th-century Cathedral of San Juan Bautista) and explaining the origins of Puerto Rican cuisine. Sara Clemence, WSJ, "Puerto Rico on the Rebound: A Three-Day Getaway Guide," 26 Dec. 2018 There are currently more than a half-dozen major left-of-center health care plans floating around, and a Biden presidential campaign would likely want to either pick one of them up or release its own. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Joe Biden is leading the 2020 polls. Here’s what he thinks about policy.," 18 Dec. 2018 Now, with new CEO Patrice Louvet in place and earnings on the upswing, Lauren, who remains chairman and chief creative officer, enters the second half-century of his business with the wind at his back. Pamela Hanson, Town & Country, "Ralph Lauren Talks Family, Fashion, and His Global Empire's 50th Anniversary," 10 Oct. 2018 Covering opeerations can continue a half-hour past that time, under the agreement. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Franklin extends landfill hours to accommodate John's Disposal after fire at Racine County plant," 6 July 2018 The fixed-wing aircraft would carry 20 tourists on a journey that would provide 10 minutes of weightlessness during a half-hour flight. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Chinese tourism, launch by centrifuge, SLS the “right” rocket," 22 June 2018 For decades, the federal government has largely outsourced quality control on for-profit colleges to ACICS and a half-dozen other accreditors. Michelle Hackman, WSJ, "DeVos Reinstates For-Profit College Accrediting Group," 21 Nov. 2018 The Allen Institute’s partnerships net them only about forty a year, each of which is portioned for a half-dozen teams. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history, which includes extensive hearings, multiple committee interviews, over 1,200 questions for the record and over a half million pages of documents. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "The FBI's Kavanaugh Investigation Is Over, but They Didn't Interview Dr. Christine Blasey Ford," 4 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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 Milwaukee's festival season might be half over, but beer festival season is just beginning to heat up. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Start making pretzel necklaces now: Beer festival season is in full pour," 9 July 2018 SUBSCRIBE TODAY Miami trimmed Philly’s 18-point second half lead to 95-87 with 2:57 remaining on a Wayne Ellington three-pointer, but got no closer. Manny Navarro, miamiherald, "Offseason full of questions await Heat after Sixers wrap up first round series in 5 | Miami Herald," 24 Apr. 2018 Pink performs 'The Star Spangled Banner' with the flu and Justin Timberlake's Super Bowl half-time show includes a Prince tribute. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "Justin Timberlake's Super Bowl halftime show: 5 moments that stood out," 4 Feb. 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

12 Jan 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 half : 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, 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).


marked by shyness and lack of polish

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