\ 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 American scored with 1:21 remaining in the half to cut the deficit down to four, but Pagnotta scored with 10 seconds remaining to give the Mount an 11-6 lead at halftime. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "UMBC rallies from 5-goal deficit to edge VCU, 12-11 | WOMEN’S LACROSSE ROUNDUP," 27 Feb. 2021 Wekiva quickly answered as Smith nailed free throws and McCarthy tied the game on a bucket off a turnover with 1:46 to go in the half. J.c. Carnahan, orlandosentinel.com, "Wekiva outlasts Winter Haven to reach FHSAA girls basketball state championship game," 25 Feb. 2021 The Wave also made a concerted effort not to hoist quick 3s, taking only six in each half while working the ball inside at Hunter’s behest. G Smith, NOLA.com, "Another tough one: Tulane men lose to Cincinnati in game decided in final seconds," 7 Feb. 2021 Curry didn't score his first bucket of the game until nine seconds were left in the half and the Warriors took a 58-51 into the locker room. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, "Golden State eventually takes over to again turn away Timberwolves," 27 Jan. 2021 After a second straight short Davison punt, this time sailing up in the air for a mere 10 yards, West Bloomfield capitalized getting a 39-yard field goal from Jake Ward with 8:12 left in the half to make it 10-0. Brad Emons, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan high school football: Donovan Edwards, West Bloomfield cruise in Division 1," 23 Jan. 2021 Forward Dan Fotu, who scored a team-high 15 points, nailed a jumper with nine minutes left in the half to put the Gaels up 22-12. Steve Kroner, SFChronicle.com, "St. Mary’s hangs with No. 1 Gonzaga for a while, but Zags remain unbeaten," 17 Jan. 2021 When Terry entered with 9:08 remaining in the half, the Mavericks trailed by 10. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "With Mavs’ lineups in flux, rookies Josh Green, Tyrell Terry show no fear — even vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo," 16 Jan. 2021 The Blazers found their footing late in the half, pulling to within four points on a 16-7 run, and scored the last five points to trail by one at the break. Evan Dudley, al, "UAB rallies early but falls late to Charlotte, 70-55," 16 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Humphries’ final time for four runs over two days was 3 minutes, 59.62 seconds — a half-second better than anyone else. Tim Reynolds, ajc, "Double gold: Humphries finishes off historic bobsled sweep," 14 Feb. 2021 The victims of Tuesday's shootings at a Buffalo clinic are being honored with flags at half-staff and a moment of silence. Alex Chhith, Star Tribune, "Half-staff flags, moment of silence for Buffalo shooting victims," 11 Feb. 2021 Milwaukee’s lead eventually ballooned to 30, as the Bucks won the second half 65-45. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers’ slide continues against Milwaukee Bucks in 124-99 loss," 7 Feb. 2021 In one such dwelling, a half-sack of flour and a modest container of rice was the only food last week for a family with eight children. New York Times, "In Afghanistan, a Booming Kidney Trade Preys on the Poor," 6 Feb. 2021 Forecasters said Saturday morning that up to a half-inch will be possible there tonight into Sunday morning. Leigh Morgan, al, "Forecasters watching for a little snow tonight for northeast Alabama," 6 Feb. 2021 The greater Himalayan mountain system (which also includes the Pamir, Hindu Kush, and Karakoram ranges) stretches across some two and a half thousand miles and at least eight countries, from Afghanistan to Myanmar. Akash Kapur, The New Yorker, "Can We See Past the Myth of the Himalaya?," 18 Jan. 2021 The Texas state flag will fly at half-staff Tuesday in front of The Dallas Morning News in memory of Bobby Johnson. Dallas News, "Bobby Johnson, who helped print The Dallas Morning News for 45 years, dies at 65," 18 Jan. 2021 Or, try one of those trending half-zip knits, a style that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Stocking Up on Sweaters? These Covetable Knits Are All on Sale Right Now," 15 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb This discrepancy comes from 62% efficacy rates in the first trial group, which received two full doses of the vaccine, but 90% efficacy rates in the second group, which received a half-sized first dose and a full-sized second dose. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "Prince William Speaks with Oxford Researchers About COVID-19 Vaccine," 23 Nov. 2020 Well, there’s the glass half-full my friend, right there. Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Navigating the pandemic: Carroll County government dealt with ‘unprecedented’ COVID-19 challenges in 2020," 27 Dec. 2020 My New Year's resolution is to be more optimistic by keeping my cup half-full ... With either rum, vodka, or whiskey. Hannah Jeon, Good Housekeeping, "72 Best New Year's Instagram Captions to Help You Ring in 2021 With All the Likes," 15 Dec. 2020 Andy Erikson's comedy act is all about seeing the glass half-full — then pouring in enough bubbly to reach the rim. Neal Justin, Star Tribune, "Her heart stopped, but this Minnesota comedian bounced back: 'This is my second life.'," 10 Dec. 2020 We are told lives have been saved by keeping the churches half-empty. Matthew Hennessey, WSJ, "No More Bishop Nice Guy," 8 Dec. 2020 The Cardinals are rolling on offense, and their defense isn’t half bad. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. Times’ Sam Farmer predicts Cardinals-Seahawks winner for Thursday NFL game," 18 Nov. 2020 Other than that, the Texas chain’s best-selling snack isn’t half bad. Anastacia Uriegas, Chron, "Totally tacky Texas gifts for the Texan in your life," 17 Nov. 2020 While much of the world sees a half-empty glass full of doom and gloom, Chrostowski sees opportunity. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Edwins Too set to open this week - sneak peek (photos)," 18 Nov. 2020

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

5 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Half.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/half. Accessed 5 Mar. 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.

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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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