whol·​ly | \ ˈhō(l)-lē How to pronounce wholly (audio) \

Definition of wholly

1 : to the full or entire extent : completely a wholly owned subsidiary
2 : to the exclusion of other things : solely a book dealing wholly with herbs

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Examples of wholly in a Sentence

She is wholly devoted to her children. An infant is wholly dependent on its mother. The claim is wholly without merit.
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Recent Examples on the Web Obviously just the economic investment and engagement between the United States and China wholly makes our engagement and influence very different than that of Russia. CBS News, "Transcript: Shelby Pierson talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 22 Jan. 2020 The resulting paintings are neither wholly abstract nor narrative but exist in a space in between; informed by pop culture, art history, creation myths and Winker’s own upbringing. Danielle Avram, Dallas News, "A creation myth on canvas: Paul Winker’s paintings mix the divine and the minimal," 21 Jan. 2020 The star has continually challenged the norms of the fashion and entertainment industries, using her platform to achieve a vision that's wholly her own. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Beyoncé Explained the Mission of Representation Behind Her Art," 9 Dec. 2019 An ethnic Aymara, one of the country’s main Andean indigenous groups, Morales was the first indigenous leader to hold power in Bolivia, where half of the population is either wholly or partly indigenous. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "Bolivia’s Evo Morales Wants to Stay in the Game," 20 Nov. 2019 That's not what a lot of fans thought, however, who were wholly against the post even existing. SI.com, "Unai Emery's Birthday Met With Predictable Response as Twitter Lays Into Under-Fire Arsenal Boss," 3 Nov. 2019 Connick was responsible for the soundtrack, a twist of fate that, like his first trip down Hollywood Boulevard, was almost wholly unintentional. Natalie Weiner, chicagotribune.com, "To Harry Connick Jr., a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame marks a major life touchdown," 26 Oct. 2019 And with the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case Oliphant v. Suquamish preventing tribal police from charging non-tribal citizens with crimes, responsibility for policing the man camps is almost wholly shifted onto county sheriffs and the FBI. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Connection Between Pipelines and Sexual Violence," 15 Oct. 2019 For the Boston kids organizing the strike, the daunting task of saving the planet can sometimes seem to be made up almost wholly of logistics. BostonGlobe.com, "Faced with rising seas and an uncertain future, the kids in Boston and their peers around the world agree: The only reasonable response to impending catastrophe is to stop what you are doing and take to the streets.," 20 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wholly.' 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 wholly

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wholly

Middle English hoolly, from hool whole

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Time Traveler for wholly

Time Traveler

The first known use of wholly was in the 14th century

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Statistics for wholly

Last Updated

29 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wholly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wholly. Accessed 29 Jan. 2020.

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More Definitions for wholly


How to pronounce wholly (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wholly

formal : completely or fully


whol·​ly | \ ˈhō-lē How to pronounce wholly (audio) \

Kids Definition of wholly

: to the limit : completely a wholly honest person

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More from Merriam-Webster on wholly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wholly

Spanish Central: Translation of wholly

Nglish: Translation of wholly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wholly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wholly

What made you want to look up wholly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to assert without proof or before proving

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