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

Courtesy Claire Gibson Since the draft ended 1973, our nation has relied on a wholly volunteer military force. Claire Gibson, Marie Claire, "Why My Relationship With Camo Print Is Messy," 29 Apr. 2019 The third week in December marked an eventful interval in Carolina Panthers history—for reasons wholly unrelated to the team’s crucial upcoming home game against the Green Bay Packers. SI.com, "My Truth In Letters," 26 Apr. 2018 The introduction of Pike, the focus on character relationships, expanding the cast to also include the rest of the bridge crew, and all around better pace and plotting has helped lift Discovery from a Star Trek wannabe to something wholly its own. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Gets Back to Basics," 25 Jan. 2019 Staff who previously worked for Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan have chosen to remain at Kensington Palace, focusing their efforts wholly on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as William continues to prepare for his eventual role as king. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "Inside Harry and Meghan’s Split from William and Kate to Start Their Own Royal Household," 15 Mar. 2019 During all these troubles onboard the bridge, the engineering room experiences an almost wholly separate threat from the mycelial network, the fungus that powers the Discovery's unique method of transportation. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Is All About Friendship and Death This Week," 8 Feb. 2019 Venezuela’s president by law serves as commander in chief, and so without that recognition, Guaido’s self-proclamation as the nation’s rightful president is almost wholly symbolic. Fabiola Sanchez, The Seattle Times, "AP Explains: Venezuela opposition’s fight to win over troops," 20 Feb. 2019 The crowd was wholly unified by their admiration for Gurung. Zachary Schwartz, Vogue, "Prabal Gurung Breaks Naan With Fashion’s Finest at His Post-Show Dinner," 11 Feb. 2019 But allowing creators to make money is a wholly different notion from SoundCloud being as profitable for artists as other streaming platforms (which many already perceive as not paying enough). Dani Deahl, The Verge, "Here’s how indie artists will make money with SoundCloud Premier," 9 Oct. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near wholly

whole wheat flour







Statistics for wholly

Last Updated

7 May 2019

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Time Traveler for wholly

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

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More Definitions for wholly



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 speak slightingly about or to degrade

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