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 holistically (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

Nay Palad Hideaway, the only five-star stay on the island and one of the country’s most expensive resorts (room rates start at $630), has a private beach, plenty of activities, and a holistic approach to wellness. Marianna Cerini, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Guide to Siargao: The Philippines Island Voted the Best in the World," 5 July 2019 What sets her apart is her holistic, humanistic approach. Jeremy Berlin, National Geographic, "She designs high-tech responses to human health problems," 27 June 2019 The kaleidoscope of attendees is, much like the location, intended to emphasize the holistic approach necessary for humane architectural change. Marlo Safi, National Review, "Can a Small Italian Village Point the Way to More Livable Modern Cities?," 16 June 2019 What’s needed is a holistic approach that integrates the Bay Area’s 26 bus, train and ferry agencies and nine congestion management agencies. Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, The Mercury News, "Editorial: Slow the train on $100 billion Bay Area transportation tax," 13 June 2019 While there are a wide variety of life-coaching services available, Theresa Velendzas says her Altraform is set apart from the rest, not only by taking a holistic approach, but by taking a new approach to the approach. Steve Smith, courant.com, "Altraform Offers Alternative Life Coaching," 21 June 2019 With our burgeoning burnout culture and the alarming rise of chronic conditions, the collective desire for a more holistic approach to health care has reached a crescendo. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Inside the New York Wellness Space That Could Be the Future of Primary Care," 30 Jan. 2019 In the basement will be Plant City Cellar, a communal space that will rent out offices (intended for like-minded practices that are in keeping with the Plant City concept, such as nutrition consultation and holistic therapy). Juliet Pennington, BostonGlobe.com, "Plant City, a vegan food hall, is opening in Providence this week," 11 June 2019 Dixon was using cannabidiol and other holistic treatments to care for her when the state stepped in, according to KGW (8). oregonlive.com, "Police ask for help finding missing Wilsonville teen in ‘substantial risk’ without medical treatment," 11 June 2019

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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Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for holistic

The first known use of holistic was in 1926

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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 holistically (audio) \ adverb

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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

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