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 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 Rather than defaulting to zero-water planting, both firms take a holistic tack, trying to incorporate the right mix of native plants that won’t tax the terra firma. Kelsey Keith, ELLE Decor, "Yes, Anyone Can Make Their Backyard More Eco-Friendly," 31 Mar. 2021 Putting their money where their mouth is, Hennessy has partnered with the Marcus Graham Project to launch the Never Stop Never Settle Society, a holistic growth accelerator to ensure a more equitable landscape for Black entrepreneurship. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "Hennessy Is Investing $1M In Funding To Champion Black Entrepreneurs," 31 Mar. 2021 The only sane conclusion is that America’s dysfunctional health care system needs holistic change, not just a Band-Aid. Stephen Rodrick, Rolling Stone, "‘We’re a Sick Nation’: ‘The Hospital’ Author Brian Alexander on America’s Health Care Crisis," 30 Mar. 2021 Patina Mountain Preserve instead focuses on holistic wellness using individual counseling, art classes, meditation and traditional Native American talking circle ceremonies. Jessica Boehm, The Arizona Republic, "New housing facility and treatment center in Sunnyslope prioritize veterans," 24 Mar. 2021 Leah Steele is a holistic wealth strategist, thought leader, and the host of The Wealth Witch Podcast, a top wealth and entrepreneur podcast for women. Celinne Da Costa, Forbes, "Redefining What It Means To Be Truly Wealthy," 20 Mar. 2021 Researchers are discovering more links between a healthy sleep routine and other holistic benefits, from nutrition and metabolism to emotional wellbeing, every year. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? Reviewing Healthy Sleep Ranges for All Ages," 19 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

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Holistic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holistic. Accessed 16 Apr. 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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