whol·ly | \ˈhō(l)-lē \

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

That is not to say that mapmakers are wholly innocent bystanders in the process. Michael Wines, New York Times, "Just How Bad Is Partisan Gerrymandering? Ask the Mapmakers," 29 Jan. 2018 The first is the calculation that Mr. Kim represents not just a younger North Korean leader but a wholly different one prepared to shift his country’s strategic goal away from a quest for more powerful arms into a quest for a more powerful economy. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "The Risky Calculus of the Trump-Kim Embrace," 12 June 2018 Again, Saban tried to minimize the impact of the story, telling reporters Thursday afternoon that his private conversations with Hurts and his father were wholly different in tone. Creg Stephenson, AL.com, "AL.com All-Access: Exploring possibilities in Alabama's quarterback dilemma," 20 Apr. 2018 His tweet parroted the tone and style of one from Trump earlier in the day, with a wholly different message. Angela Hart, sacbee, "California considers health coverage for low-income undocumented immigrants | The Sacramento Bee," 19 Apr. 2018 Gucci's mad genius creative director Alessandro Michele is still designing plenty of Styles' suits, but the vibe is wholly different this time around. Megan Gustashaw, GQ, "Harry Styles Is Dressing Like Michael Jackson Now," 13 Apr. 2018 In the absence of the substantial gun reform advocated by students in Parkland, Fla., their school district will be installing a wholly different security measure: clear backpacks. Anne Branigin, The Root, "Amid Recent Security Scares, Stoneman Douglas High School Requires Students to Wear Clear Backpacks," 22 Mar. 2018 Few constitutional powers lie so wholly at the whims of the president as the power to pardon. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, "Pardon Seekers Have a New Strategy in the Trump Era: ‘It’s Who You Know’," 12 July 2018 Thoroughly inspired by nature, Oceanside artist Carrie Minikel has an instinct for transforming common objects into quizzical pieces of art that are at once representative and abstract, familiar yet wholly new. Cynthia Zanone, sandiegouniontribune.com, "The irresistibly curious art of Carrie Minikel," 25 May 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

8 Oct 2018

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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

: completely or fully


whol·ly | \ˈhō-lē \

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).


one that holds something together

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