whole

1 of 3

adjective

1
a(1)
: free of wound or injury : unhurt
(2)
: recovered from a wound or injury : restored
(3)
: being healed
whole of an ancient evil, I sleep soundA. E. Housman
b
: free of defect or impairment : intact
c
: physically sound and healthy : free of disease or deformity
d
: mentally or emotionally sound
2
: having all its proper parts or components : complete, unmodified
whole milk
a whole egg
3
a
: constituting the total sum or undiminished entirety : entire
owns the whole island
b
: each or all of the
took part in the whole series of athletic events
4
a
: constituting an undivided unit : unbroken, uncut
a whole roast suckling pig
b
: directed to one end : concentrated
your whole attention
5
a
: seemingly complete or total
the whole idea is to help, not hinder
b
: very great in quantity, extent, or scope
feels a whole lot better now
6
: constituting the entirety of a person's nature or development
educate the whole student
7
: having the same father and mother
whole brother
wholeness noun

whole

2 of 3

noun

1
: a complete amount or sum : a number, aggregate, or totality lacking no part, member, or element
2
: something constituting a complex unity : a coherent system or organization of parts fitting or working together as one

whole

3 of 3

adverb

1
: wholly, entirely
a whole new age groupHenry Chauncey
2
: as a complete entity
Phrases
in whole
: to the full or entire extent : wholly
usually used in the phrase in whole or in part
on the whole
1
: in view of all the circumstances or conditions : all things considered
2
: in general : in most instances : typically
Choose the Right Synonym for whole

perfect, whole, entire, intact mean not lacking or faulty in any particular.

perfect implies the soundness and the excellence of every part, element, or quality of a thing frequently as an unattainable or theoretical state.

a perfect set of teeth

whole suggests a completeness or perfection that can be sought, gained, or regained.

felt like a whole person again after vacation

entire implies perfection deriving from integrity, soundness, or completeness of a thing.

the entire Beethoven corpus

intact implies retention of perfection of a thing in its natural or original state.

the boat survived the storm intact

Examples of whole in a Sentence

Adjective The doctor assured me that the whole procedure would only take a few minutes. The whole place was remodeled. It looks great now. It's been a whole week since I've seen him. I spent the whole summer traveling through Europe. The whole evening was a great success. She read the whole book in one day. I've been waiting my whole life for this. We decided to forget the whole thing. We cooked a whole chicken. The community center offers a whole range of programs. Noun the landlord eventually refunded the whole of our deposit Adverb We cooked the chicken whole. The frog swallowed the fly whole.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Blake shot the whole movie in 26 days back in 2022 — 21 of those days in Fort Worth. Brayden Garcia, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 13 Apr. 2024 But cats in live action is a whole other ball of yarn. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Apr. 2024 Those will let Spotify subscribers tinker with tracks in a whole new way. Chris Welch, The Verge, 12 Apr. 2024 The whole matter could have been easily cleared up with a DNA test. Madeleine Marr, Miami Herald, 12 Apr. 2024 There will be more, and the ideal situation is to certify a whole series of Alpine Eagles, for example, for a particular year. Paul Croughton, Robb Report, 12 Apr. 2024 That whole craze started right at the beginning of my career here in New York. Juan A. Ramírez, Vogue, 12 Apr. 2024 The upcoming restoration work will entail restoring and cleaning the whole bridge to eliminate algae, moss, liches and weeds growing there, as well any deposits left by chemicals in the river. Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, 12 Apr. 2024 The rule changes did not include guidance from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommending that only whole grain cereals be buyable with WIC funds. James Powel, USA TODAY, 11 Apr. 2024
Noun
Confidence: Medium-High Tomorrow night: Skies should end up partly cloudy on the whole. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2024 The market for storage containers, on the whole, is thriving. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 12 Apr. 2024 Over the last 10 months, however, gold ETFs have incurred a net outflow of funds, meaning that on the whole the ETFs are losing investment rather than gaining it, Harvey said. Max Zahn, ABC News, 12 Apr. 2024 Even though many life-saving drugs are vastly unaffordable to people who need them most, drug prices on the whole are only up 0.4% year-over-year. Elisabeth Buchwald, CNN, 11 Apr. 2024 The Israel Defense Forces announced a full withdrawal of ground forces from southern Gaza on Sunday, leaving a smaller force to maintain operations in the whole of the strip. Anders Hagstrom, Fox News, 7 Apr. 2024 But on the whole, the finale is deeply satisfying, including a nod to the character’s long literary and screen history that should be delightful even to the many viewers who won’t get the reference. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 4 Apr. 2024 Cooking Tips for Eastern Wild Turkeys Roasting a wild turkey whole is an excellent way to prepare your spring harvest. M.d. Johnson, Field & Stream, 27 Mar. 2024 Baby boomers and Gen X are wildly underprepared for retirement on the whole, according to many surveys and studies. Alicia Adamczyk, Fortune, 2 Apr. 2024
Adverb
The cube pops up whole again in Endgame, this time in the past, circa 2012, when the Avengers are pulling their multi-pronged time heist to get all the stones before Thanos can. Glenn Greenberg, EW.com, 27 Oct. 2023 In the Heat’s first game while whole after dealing with injury issues for the first three months of the season, Spoelstra went with a nine-man rotation that did not include Josh Richardson in Saturday’s road loss to the New York Knicks. Anthony Chiang, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Some, like Great Lakes walleye, are trucked whole to Fortune’s Bensenville, Illinois processing facility on slushy-like flake ice, processed and shipped down I-65 to Indianapolis in as little as three days. The Indianapolis Star, 5 Jan. 2024 Slice your strawberries if desired (keep scrolling for more on freezing whole vs. sliced). Katie Bourque, Good Housekeeping, 6 May 2023 Someone captured a deer eating a snake whole earlier this week. Vulture, 15 June 2023 Add two Hungarian wax peppers whole – keeping their stems on. Gabriele Regalbuto, Fox News, 6 July 2023 Between bites of banku –a delicious corn and cassava dough formed in single-serving balls – and whole-grilled, freshwater tilapia seasoned with a traditional blend of aromatic herbs and spices, Eshun shares the story of her upbringing in Ohio until her repatriation to Ghana in 2018. Tenille Clarke, Essence, 9 Jan. 2023 Today's commitment by Norfolk Southern is an important next step in the company's commitment to make the citizens of Ohio and of East Palestine whole after the recent derailment, a commitment Ohio will continue to monitor closely. Allison Pecorin, ABC News, 16 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'whole.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English hool healthy, unhurt, entire, from Old English hāl; akin to Old High German heil healthy, unhurt, Old Norse heill, Old Church Slavonic cělŭ

First Known Use

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of whole was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near whole

Cite this Entry

“Whole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whole. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

whole

1 of 2 adjective
1
: being in healthy or sound condition : free from sickness or injury : well
your care made me whole again
2
a
: having all its proper parts or elements : complete
whole grain
whole milk
b
: not cut up or in pieces
a whole roast chicken
3
: not divided or scattered
your whole attention
4
: being the total or full amount or extent of something
owns the whole island
5
: each or all of the
the whole 10 days

whole

2 of 2 noun
1
: a complete amount or sum
2
: something whole or entire
the whole of an apple
Etymology

Adjective

Old English hāl "healthy" — related to hale entry 1

Medical Definition

whole

adjective
: containing all its natural constituents, components, or elements : deprived of nothing by refining, processing, or separation
whole milk

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