whole

1 of 3

adjective

1
a(1)
: free of wound or injury : unhurt
(2)
: recovered from a wound or injury : restored
(3)
: being healed
whole of an ancient evil, I sleep soundA. E. Housman
b
: free of defect or impairment : intact
c
: physically sound and healthy : free of disease or deformity
d
: mentally or emotionally sound
2
: having all its proper parts or components : complete, unmodified
whole milk
a whole egg
3
a
: constituting the total sum or undiminished entirety : entire
owns the whole island
b
: each or all of the
took part in the whole series of athletic events
4
a
: constituting an undivided unit : unbroken, uncut
a whole roast suckling pig
b
: directed to one end : concentrated
your whole attention
5
a
: seemingly complete or total
the whole idea is to help, not hinder
b
: very great in quantity, extent, or scope
feels a whole lot better now
6
: constituting the entirety of a person's nature or development
educate the whole student
7
: having the same father and mother
whole brother
wholeness noun

whole

2 of 3

noun

1
: a complete amount or sum : a number, aggregate, or totality lacking no part, member, or element
2
: something constituting a complex unity : a coherent system or organization of parts fitting or working together as one

whole

3 of 3

adverb

1
: wholly, entirely
a whole new age groupHenry Chauncey
2
: as a complete entity
Phrases
in whole
: to the full or entire extent : wholly
usually used in the phrase in whole or in part
on the whole
1
: in view of all the circumstances or conditions : all things considered
2
: in general : in most instances : typically
Choose the Right Synonym for whole

perfect, whole, entire, intact mean not lacking or faulty in any particular.

perfect implies the soundness and the excellence of every part, element, or quality of a thing frequently as an unattainable or theoretical state.

a perfect set of teeth

whole suggests a completeness or perfection that can be sought, gained, or regained.

felt like a whole person again after vacation

entire implies perfection deriving from integrity, soundness, or completeness of a thing.

the entire Beethoven corpus

intact implies retention of perfection of a thing in its natural or original state.

the boat survived the storm intact

Example Sentences

Adjective The doctor assured me that the whole procedure would only take a few minutes. The whole place was remodeled. It looks great now. It's been a whole week since I've seen him. I spent the whole summer traveling through Europe. The whole evening was a great success. She read the whole book in one day. I've been waiting my whole life for this. We decided to forget the whole thing. We cooked a whole chicken. The community center offers a whole range of programs. Noun the landlord eventually refunded the whole of our deposit Adverb We cooked the chicken whole. The frog swallowed the fly whole. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Coffee in the morning, double espresso, dash of steamed milk; English tea in the afternoon, a splash of whole milk in a big comforting mug. Fortune Editors, Fortune, 29 Jan. 2023 Complex carbohydrates, such as beans, peas, vegetables and whole grains provide vitamins, minerals and fiber that can go missing in processed and refined foods. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 29 Jan. 2023 Hannah Christine Shetler plays Karma, a smart, hip teenager who has struggled her whole life with the knowledge that her mother, Sunny (Kimberly Alexander), conceived her with a notorious demonic cult leader, Paul De Grendel (Madsen). Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times, 27 Jan. 2023 Though the 34-year-old star has, as the doc makes clear, been overlooked and underestimated his whole life, the film looks at his desire to prove doubters wrong in two stages of his life. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Jan. 2023 This friend was born in federal, has been in and out of prison his whole life. Riley Van Steward, Forbes, 23 Jan. 2023 Stacey Rollins, 56, has lived in the Robert F. Wagner Houses in East Harlem her whole life. Mihir Zaveri, New York Times, 23 Jan. 2023 Erin Moriarty: — lost Laura who — who had her whole life ahead of her. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 21 Jan. 2023 Wells said that White, a lifelong Hoosier, kept old friends close for his whole life, and always stayed true to his roots. Claire Rafford, The Indianapolis Star, 20 Jan. 2023
Noun
For the season as a whole, Jokic has cleared this number in 52 % of all Nuggets games. Nick Hennion, Chicago Tribune, 18 Jan. 2023 After her 8-year-old daughter identified as gay to Bristol last year, the mother began to question whether Sarasota or Florida as a whole were the best places for her family. Samantha Gholar, USA TODAY, 18 Jan. 2023 The 4th district incorporates sections of Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa and Chandler and is considered competitive, voting Democratic 1% more than the country as a whole. Tara Kavaler, The Arizona Republic, 17 Jan. 2023 Christians who experience deconstruction often leave specific religious affiliations, while others may leave the faith as a whole. Brianna Griff, Chron, 15 Jan. 2023 And then there’s the question of how McMahon’s return affects the pro wrestling industry as a whole. Kyle Feldscher, CNN, 14 Jan. 2023 For the year as a whole, after including dividends, the S&P 500 lost 18 percent, the worst return since 2008. Jeff Sommer, New York Times, 13 Jan. 2023 While conversations surrounding being kind were par for the course in preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school as a whole, verbiage surrounding the topic seems to dwindle as age goes on. Rebecca Norris, Woman's Day, 12 Jan. 2023 As a whole, the experiences make the case that King’s famous speech isn’t just a series of vague platitudes or the eulogy for a racist American past, but a set of unresolved grievances that have only grown in relevance. Andrew R. Chow, Time, 12 Jan. 2023
Adverb
In Texas, state leaders from the governor on down have approved borrowing $6.3 billion in bonds to make gas and electricity companies whole again after massive losses from the big deadly storm. Dallas News, 9 Dec. 2022 The hope is that, with time, these productions can help make the industry whole again. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Nov. 2022 Can Bush change the record books and make USC whole again? Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2021 Gokhman and his colleagues knew that the true test of their method would be when researchers unearthed a Denisovan bone whole enough to measure. Leslie Nemo, Discover Magazine, 19 Sep. 2019 Spending time alone is one way to feed your soul, pour into your cup, and show up to your relationship whole. Elizabeth Ayoola, Essence, 27 Dec. 2022 Even with the starting lineup again whole at the start, that pattern continued in Friday night’s 111-108 loss to the visiting Indiana Pacers. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 24 Dec. 2022 Monterey Fish Market in Berkeley, for example, has whole cooked Washington Dungeness for $32.99 per crab. Mario Cortez, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Dec. 2022 Though Asia is the epicenter of the shark fin market, fins can be legally harvested by commercial fishermen in the U.S. if fishermen bring the fish to land whole. Bill Kearney, Sun Sentinel, 21 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whole.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English hool healthy, unhurt, entire, from Old English hāl; akin to Old High German heil healthy, unhurt, Old Norse heill, Old Church Slavonic cělŭ

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of whole was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near whole

Cite this Entry

“Whole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whole. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

whole

1 of 2 adjective
1
: being in healthy or sound condition : free from sickness or injury : well
your care made me whole again
2
a
: having all its proper parts or elements : complete
whole grain
whole milk
b
: not cut up or in pieces
a whole roast chicken
3
: not divided or scattered
your whole attention
4
: being the total or full amount or extent of something
owns the whole island
5
: each or all of the
the whole 10 days

whole

2 of 2 noun
1
: a complete amount or sum
2
: something whole or entire
the whole of an apple

Medical Definition

whole

adjective
: containing all its natural constituents, components, or elements : deprived of nothing by refining, processing, or separation
whole milk

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