holistic

adjective
ho·​lis·​tic | \hō-ˈli-stik \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from holistic

holistically \hō-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Another approach is to use holistic grazing practices for livestock. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, explained," 24 Oct. 2018 The holistic thing didn’t start at the very beginning. Sandy Deneau Dunham, The Seattle Times, "Jim Olson’s Tofino Beach House is one for the books," 25 Oct. 2018 All of these factors are considered to assess candidates in a holistic manner, Harvard says, with the goal of creating a student body comprising people who are different enough from one another to provide a rich educational experience. Jessica Wang, WSJ, "Breakdown of the Harvard Admissions Process," 23 Oct. 2018 But despite its importance as part of a holistic cancer treatment plan, reconstruction can be incredibly difficult to afford. Sara Gaynes Levy, Marie Claire, "What Happens When You Can’t Afford Breast Cancer Reconstruction?," 16 Oct. 2018 Eiseman, a holistic health coach, posted on Facebook after the rescue, noting that another woman with her was alive, too. Washington Post, "Alaska plane survivor: ‘For those wondering I’m alive’," 12 July 2018 Being aware of traditions is useful in having a holistic experience. Kamakshi Ayyar, Time, "What India's Traditional Yoga Teachers Want You to Know for the International Day of Yoga," 20 June 2018 That starts by better understanding consumers’ personal health situations and developing holistic strategies to address their unique needs. Karen S. Lynch, STAT, "Everyone deserves a holistic, patient-centric health care system," 12 July 2018 Image The musician Milford Graves is a rare example of a truly holistic artist. Milford Graves, New York Times, "Review: ‘Milford Graves Full Mantis’ Delivers a Lot of Heart," 12 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of holistic

1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for holistic

hol(ism) + -istic

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about holistic

Dictionary Entries near holistic

holis

holishkes

holism

holistic

holk

holl

holland

Statistics for holistic

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for holistic

The first known use of holistic was in 1926

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for holistic

holistic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of holistic

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

holistic

adjective
ho·​lis·​tic | \hō-ˈlis-tik \

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 \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on holistic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with holistic

Spanish Central: Translation of holistic

Nglish: Translation of holistic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of holistic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on holistic

What made you want to look up holistic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

amusing and light sparring with words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!