adjective whole·some \ ˈhōl-səm \
|Updated on: 11 Aug 2018

Definition of wholesome

1 : promoting health or well-being of mind or spirit
2 : promoting health of body
3 a : sound in body, mind, or morals
b : having the simple health or vigor of normal domesticity
4 a : based on well-grounded fear : prudent
  • a wholesome respect for the law
b : safe
  • it wouldn't be wholesome for you to go down there
  • —Mark Twain





Examples of wholesome in a Sentence

  1. a wholesome dish made with vegetables

  2. less-than-wholesome entertainment that wasn't appropriate for children

  3. a young actor known for his wholesome good looks

Recent Examples of wholesome from the Web

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

First Known Use of wholesome

13th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
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Synonym Discussion of wholesome

healthful, wholesome, salubrious, salutary mean favorable to the health of mind or body. healthful implies a positive contribution to a healthy condition.
    • a healthful diet
wholesome applies to what benefits, builds up, or sustains physically, mentally, or spiritually.
    • wholesome foods
    • the movie is wholesome family entertainment
salubrious applies chiefly to the helpful effects of climate or air.
    • cool and salubrious weather
salutary describes something corrective or beneficially effective, even though it may in itself be unpleasant.
    • a salutary warning that resulted in increased production
healthy, sound, wholesome, robust, hale, well mean enjoying or indicative of good health. healthy implies full strength and vigor as well as freedom from signs of disease.
    • a healthy family
sound emphasizes the absence of disease, weakness, or malfunction.
    • a sound heart
wholesome implies appearance and behavior indicating soundness and balance.
    • a face with a wholesome glow
robust implies the opposite of all that is delicate or sickly.
    • a lively, robust little boy
hale applies particularly to robustness in old age.
    • still hale at the age of eighty
well implies merely freedom from disease or illness.
    • she has never been a well person

WHOLESOME Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of wholesome for English Language Learners

  • : helping to keep your body healthy : good for your health

  • : morally good

  • : suggesting good health or behavior

WHOLESOME Defined for Kids


adjective whole·some \ ˈhōl-səm \

Definition of wholesome for Students

1 : helping to improve or keep the body in good condition
  • wholesome food
2 : healthy for the mind or morals
  • wholesome entertainment



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excessive admiration or flattery

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