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

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of half in a Sentence

Noun 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.” Adjective 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. Adverb 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 Working on the main track, by contrast, was Rock Your World, whom trainer John Sadler assigned a full mile-and-a-half gallop. Guy Martin, Forbes, 5 June 2021 The Aces led most of the half and by eight points (39-31) after an 11-4 run that included Griner going down after an apparent hit in the chest from Cambage. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 26 May 2021 Consecutive goals by Hastings, Bo Whiteford and Forbush made it 7-3 with 4:21 to play in the half and after the Friars got one goal back, Hastings and Marchetti scored nine seconds apart in the final minute of the half for a 9-4 lead. Glenn Graham, baltimoresun.com, 21 May 2021 Bou and Buksa threatened early, but were limited for most of the half as D.C. stifled Gil in midfield. BostonGlobe.com, 24 Apr. 2021 Regular clock rules will be in place for the final four minutes of each half. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, 17 Apr. 2021 The Cavs forced turnovers on the first three Century drives of the half. Eric Bem, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 9 Apr. 2021 Keller’s continued pressure eventually broke through at the 26th minute of the opening half, as Jake Musgrave was fouled in the penalty box for a penalty kick. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, 7 Apr. 2021 The play in the first quarter set the tone of the half, really, as the Bucks turned it over five times and shot just 30% in falling behind 32-26 in the opening quarter. Jim Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The two novels share a great deal of autobiographical material—a half-Jewish American, half-Guatemalan narrator (named Roger Graetz in the first book), the same childhood outside Boston, complete with the same local bullies and racists. James Wood, The New Yorker, 7 June 2021 Dolly Parton is opening a new Smoky Mountain resort as a part of a half-a-billion-dollar investment in the region over the next decade. al, 6 June 2021 The artisans at Lunaz are pricing their projects around the half-million-dollar mark, which includes a concours-quality restoration, but not the car. Dan Neil, WSJ, 5 June 2021 The Texas state flag in front of The Dallas Morning News building will fly at half-staff Monday in memory of Paula LaRocque. Kelli Smith, Dallas News, 5 June 2021 Certain rooms are lovely at daybreak or at dusk, in half-light or candlelight, overcrowded with furniture or virtually empty. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 4 June 2021 According to the data, the spin rate on four-seam fastballs around the league has increased by about a half-percent around the league from last season to this season. Matt Young, Chron, 4 June 2021 The shooting happened only days after a mass shooting at Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose left nine people dead and saw the White House similarly ordering flags at half-staff. Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2021 Still, Octuri’s 3-D visuals and focus on details—the yacht will have two main decks as well as half-decks in the bow and stern—as well as line drawings, give it a sense of authenticity. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, 28 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Raisel Iglesias was brought on to maintain a one-run deficit in the eighth — to earn the save a half-inning later. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2021 Coming in the latter days of the coronavirus pandemic and less than four months after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, though, the event was unlike any other presidential speech as Mr. Biden faced a half-empty chamber. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2021 Cannabis companies that fail to successfully position themselves, however, may see half-empty parking lots as out-of-state consumers switch to alternatives closer to home. BostonGlobe.com, 20 Apr. 2021 Blindfolded, chained to walls, beaten and treated like an animal, Mr. Keenan goes half-mad and prays to die. Giles Tremlett, WSJ, 14 May 2021 One minute of silence will be observed before the ceremony's 3 p.m. start time, and flags will continue to fly at half-mast on official buildings. Rachel Burchfield, Southern Living, 13 Apr. 2021 By contrast, 160 vaccine slots made available in March in Emery County were only half-full two weeks later. Erin Alberty, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Apr. 2021 Everything he's argued for in America applies globally: First doses first, run challenge studies to see if half-dosing or fractional-dosing works, pump money into vaccine supply. Ezra Klein New York Times, Star Tribune, 1 Apr. 2021 Jalen Tate half-heartedly tried to take a charge and was hit with a block. Joe Walljasper, Arkansas Online, 14 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for half

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for half

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Half.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/half. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on half

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for half

Nglish: Translation of half for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of half for Arabic Speakers


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