holistic

adjective

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

Did you know?

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The study, led by researchers at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil and published in the journal Nature, takes a holistic approach to estimating how soon the Amazon could reach that threshold. Rosa Rahimi, CNN, 14 Feb. 2024 For Jon, that was boosting his own holistic health, as well as his community’s. Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone, 13 Feb. 2024 The goal of the 5,000-acre community is to conserve wildlife, reverse poverty and preserve culture with a holistic approach. Nick Maslow, Peoplemag, 10 Feb. 2024 More than 11,200 reviewers swear by these seasick patches that use a holistic herbal blend to fight nausea. Kelsey Glennon, Travel + Leisure, 5 Feb. 2024 The Say Something Anonymous Reporting System is a program exclusively for schools that seeks to take a holistic approach to gun violence and self-harm. Beth Ann Mayer, Parents, 2 Feb. 2024 The skincare company offers consultations and a line of skincare products aimed at holistic healing. Isha Trivedi, The Mercury News, 28 Jan. 2024 Others, like Perl, feel more meditative or holistic, talking about envisioning results and journaling your ideal lifestyle. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 27 Jan. 2024 Explore the realm of 'Stop Making Cancer: A Raw Vegan Recipe Book' and immerse yourself in a holistic culinary journey. Sacramento Bee, 25 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'holistic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

hol(ism) + -istic

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of holistic was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near holistic

Cite this Entry

“Holistic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holistic. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

holistic

adjective
ho·​lis·​tic hō-ˈlis-tik How to pronounce holistic (audio)
: relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the individual parts
holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body
Etymology

hol- + -istic

Medical Definition

holistic

adjective
ho·​lis·​tic hō-ˈlis-tik How to pronounce holistic (audio)
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
holistically adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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