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 The Toy Hall of Fame emphasizes its holistic approach to nominating toys, which is self-evident in a list that includes the Nintendo Game Boy and pinball machine alongside bubbles and playground swings. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "The 3 Toys That Made This Year's Toy Hall of Fame Class," 12 Nov. 2019 These trainees go on to earn a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or DO degree, which is equivalent to an MD, though osteopathic teachings emphasize treating patients with a more holistic approach. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Should we be testing doctors for empathy?," 24 Oct. 2019 Lopez Obrador has pledged a more holistic approach. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, "14 police officers killed in an ambush in Mexico, testing president’s security strategy," 14 Oct. 2019 Joe Biden helped bring into law, pledging a more holistic approach to crime prevention and policing. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Kamala Harris draws upon background in unveiling criminal justice plan," 9 Sep. 2019 Others think the rule, which was implemented on WeWork's 2019 figures but not 2017 or 2018, is helpful in giving investors a more holistic look at what the company is really working with. Anne Sraders, Fortune, "WeWork IPO: This Accounting Rule Change is ‘Crushing’ the Company’s Financials," 15 Aug. 2019 My research looks at a more holistic approach to tackling football trafficking. Ini-obong Nkang, Quartz Africa, "Europe’s search for soccer’s next big star is driving a modern-day slave trade," 14 Aug. 2019 Other topics include culturally responsive education, sustainable housing, holistic health care, food and nutrition, restorative justice, and more. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Building a community focused on youth empowerment," 15 June 2019 The mission of Xavier University is to educate the whole person and with that develop an appreciation for holistic care to diverse populations across the life span. Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Xavier University’s School of Nursing Focuses on Educating and Serving the Whole Student with a Holistic Focus on Population Health," 7 May 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.

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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

16 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Holistic.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holistic?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=h&file=holist01. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for holistic


How to pronounce holistic (audio)

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

Comments on holistic

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not agreeing with established beliefs

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