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

Facebook’s impact on democracy has not been wholly positive. The Economist, "What is Libra?," 12 July 2019 But Algren resembles the two masters only superficially, in his antic grotesquerie; any deeper affinity is wholly wanting. Algis Valiunas, National Review, "Nelson Algren: Chicago’s Bard of the Downtrodden," 11 July 2019 These are the achievements that wholly define Pozzo. SI.com, "Vittorio Pozzo: Metodo, Mussolini, Meazza & the Difficult Memory of a Two-Time World Cup Winner," 11 July 2019 Rarely, in the case of Brazil, are education or other kinds of activities wholly unavailable, although sometimes there is a significant gender difference in terms of who gets offered what. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "How Detained Children Are Treated Around the World," 10 July 2019 The museum is the only one in the world wholly dedicated to telling the history of Jews in the American South. Josefin Dolsten, sun-sentinel.com, "A museum on Southern Jews moves its eclectic 4,000-item collection across state lines," 9 July 2019 The Trump administration has argued that these tariffs are wholly tied to the Airbus-Boeing case and are separate from the other trade spat with the EU. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Cheese and whiskey are targeted in US’s latest proposed tariffs on EU," 2 July 2019 The show has done a good job of not sticking exclusively to its original Spielberg/King inspirations, and the key wholly acknowledged influences this time around are led by the George Romero zombie classics and James Cameron's Terminator. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Stranger Things' Season 3: TV Review," 30 June 2019 Silence eats at the photo but never wholly devours it. Jason Parham, WIRED, "Depth of Field: The Quiet Force of YouTuber Etika's Gaze," 27 June 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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Dictionary Entries near wholly

whole wheat flour







Statistics for wholly

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


characterized by aphorism

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