ho·​lis·​tic | \ hō-ˈli-stik How to pronounce holistic (audio) \

Definition of holistic

1 : of or relating to holism
2 : relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body holistic ecology views humans and the environment as a single system

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Other Words from holistic

holistically \ hō-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce holistic (audio) \ adverb

Look at the Big Picture With Holistic

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" expresses the essence of holism, a term coined by the great South African general and statesman Jan Smuts in 1926. Holism generally opposes the Western tendency toward analysis, the breaking down of wholes into parts sometimes to the point that "you can't see the forest for the trees". Holism is an important concept in the sciences and social sciences, and especially in medicine. Holistic medicine tries to treat the "whole person" rather than focusing too narrowly on single symptoms. It emphasizes the connections between the mind and the body, avoids the overuse of drugs, and has borrowed such practices from Eastern traditions as acupuncture and yoga.

Examples of holistic in a Sentence

In a world of specialization, we have been trained to think of medicine as a separate world—when we are sick, we go to doctors and follow their advice. This is starting to change, with the increasing popularity of alternative and holistic approaches to overall health and well-being. — Gareth Cook, Boston Globe, 9 June 2002 The Gaia hypothesis is certainly top-down and holistic, and it's now generally accepted … Organisms have not just adapted to different physical environments; they also modify and improve the environment for their own good—just like people. — Tom Ghaffin, Natural History, October 1998 People with supermarket carts. When did these things come out of the stores and into the streets. She saw these things everywhere … filled with living trivia, the holistic dregs of everything if that is correctly put. — Don DeLillo, Mao II, 1991 Holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body. We need to take a more holistic approach to improving our schools.
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Recent Examples on the Web Seizing this opportunity to improve telehealth for the future will require a holistic approach. BostonGlobe.com, "COVID-19 brought health care into the 21st century. Here’s what we need from telehealth next," 26 Apr. 2021 The latest tracker from Fitbit, called Luxe, is aimed at a holistic approach to health and wellness. David Phelan, Forbes, "Fitbit Unveils Chic New Fitbit Luxe Fitness & Wellness Tracker," 19 Apr. 2021 Integrated Pest Management, also known as IPM, is a holistic approach to pest control that has become standard in the industry. Better Homes & Gardens, "The 3 Best Pest Control Companies (2021)," 22 Mar. 2021 Sustainable growth in the future will depend more than ever on a holistic approach to well-being. Naz Beheshti, Forbes, "The Pandemic Has Created A New Kind Of Burnout, Which Makes Well-Being More Critical Than Ever," 15 Apr. 2021 Gabe Klein, a transportation consultant at CityFi, who previously led transportation departments in Chicago and Washington, DC, praised the Biden plan for having a holistic approach. Matt Mcfarland, CNN, "'Decades overdue.' Transportation industry cheers Biden's infrastructure plan," 1 Apr. 2021 The success of the holistic approach is made evident in Sall’s glowing Instagrams. Akili King, Vogue, "SUNU Journal Founder Amy Sall Swears by This Hydrating SPF for a Natural Glow," 29 Mar. 2021 Asked to explain how the policy will be implemented, DOD Director of Ascension Policy Stephanie Miller instead focused Wednesday on the holistic support and flexibility available to transgender service members. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Military touts 'wonderful teams' of doctors for transgender troops, but combat concerns remain," 2 Apr. 2021 It’s inspired by the centuries-old holistic healing customs of curanderos, or healers. Helen Bond, Dallas News, "Happiness hacks: Boost your mood with these tips," 31 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'holistic.' 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 holistic

1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for holistic

hol(ism) + -istic

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Time Traveler for holistic

Time Traveler

The first known use of holistic was in 1926

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Statistics for holistic

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Holistic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holistic. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for holistic



English Language Learners Definition of holistic

: relating to or concerned with complete systems rather than with individual parts


ho·​lis·​tic | \ hō-ˈlis-tik How to pronounce holistic (audio) \

Medical Definition of holistic

1 : of or relating to holism
2 : relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body

Other Words from holistic

holistically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce holistic (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on holistic

Nglish: Translation of holistic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of holistic for Arabic Speakers

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