ho·​lis·​tic | \ hō-ˈli-stik How to pronounce holistic (audio) \

Definition of holistic

1 : of or relating to holism
2 : relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body holistic ecology views humans and the environment as a single system

Other Words from holistic

holistically \ hō-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce holistic (audio) \ adverb

Look at the Big Picture With Holistic

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" expresses the essence of holism, a term coined by the great South African general and statesman Jan Smuts in 1926. Holism generally opposes the Western tendency toward analysis, the breaking down of wholes into parts sometimes to the point that "you can't see the forest for the trees". Holism is an important concept in the sciences and social sciences, and especially in medicine. Holistic medicine tries to treat the "whole person" rather than focusing too narrowly on single symptoms. It emphasizes the connections between the mind and the body, avoids the overuse of drugs, and has borrowed such practices from Eastern traditions as acupuncture and yoga.

Examples of holistic in a Sentence

In a world of specialization, we have been trained to think of medicine as a separate world—when we are sick, we go to doctors and follow their advice. This is starting to change, with the increasing popularity of alternative and holistic approaches to overall health and well-being. — Gareth Cook, Boston Globe, 9 June 2002 The Gaia hypothesis is certainly top-down and holistic, and it's now generally accepted … Organisms have not just adapted to different physical environments; they also modify and improve the environment for their own good—just like people. — Tom Ghaffin, Natural History, October 1998 People with supermarket carts. When did these things come out of the stores and into the streets. She saw these things everywhere … filled with living trivia, the holistic dregs of everything if that is correctly put. — Don DeLillo, Mao II, 1991 Holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body. We need to take a more holistic approach to improving our schools.
Recent Examples on the Web But perhaps most striking is its holistic approach to traveling to Antarctica in a more responsible way. Mary Holland, Robb Report, 1 May 2022 Evans, who works as a spiritual consultant, described Yorùbá medicine as a holistic approach that addresses more than just a specific ailment, but the well-being of mind, body and spirit. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, The Arizona Republic, 25 Apr. 2022 Push for a long-term holistic approach About negative and rare side effects About health outcomes for your ethnic group specifically. Nantale Muwonge, Essence, 21 Apr. 2022 Bulls coach Billy Donovan said the defensive game plan to shut down Antetokounmpo relies on a holistic approach from all five players on the court. Julia Poe, chicagotribune.com, 20 Apr. 2022 The center’s approach to treatment and rehabilitation is holistic and encompasses a wide range of services. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, 9 Mar. 2022 Anya takes a more holistic, bespoke approach to postpartum recovery. Emily Barasch, Vogue, 22 Apr. 2022 Leaders are moving beyond just physical wellbeing and return on investment strategies, to a more holistic approach to wellbeing (mental, emotional, physical, financial, social, and community). Colleen Reilly, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 Environmental experts say manufactures must find a more holistic approach that moves away from a legacy of pollution that disproportionally affects low-income and minority neighborhoods. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 5 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of holistic

1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for holistic

hol(ism) + -istic

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The first known use of holistic was in 1926

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Holistic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holistic. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for holistic


ho·​lis·​tic | \ hō-ˈlis-tik How to pronounce holistic (audio) \

Medical Definition of holistic

1 : of or relating to holism
2 : relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body

Other Words from holistic

holistically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce holistic (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on holistic

Nglish: Translation of holistic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of holistic for Arabic Speakers


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