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half

[haf, hahf] /hæf, hɑf/
noun, plural halves
[havz, hahvz] /hævz, hɑvz/ (Show IPA)
1.
one of two equal or approximately equal parts of a divisible whole, as an object, or unit of measure or time; a part of a whole equal or almost equal to the remainder.
2.
a quantity or amount equal to such a part (½).
3.
Sports. either of two equal periods of play, usually with an intermission or rest period separating them.
Compare quarter (def 10).
4.
one of two; a part of a pair.
5.
Informal.
  1. half dollar.
  2. the sum of 50 cents:
    Four dimes and two nickels make a half.
6.
Baseball. either of the two units of play into which an inning is divided, the visiting team batting in the first unit and the home team batting in the second.
7.
Football. a halfback.
8.
British Informal.
  1. a half-crown coin.
  2. the sum of a half crown; two shillings, sixpence.
  3. a half pint:
    He ordered a half of ale.
adjective
9.
being one of two equal or approximately equal parts of a divisible whole:
a half quart.
10.
being half or about half of anything in degree, amount, length, etc.:
at half speed; half sleeve.
11.
partial or incomplete:
half measures.
adverb
12.
in or to the extent or measure of half.
13.
in part; partly; incompletely:
half understood.
14.
to some extent; almost:
half recovered.
Idioms
15.
by half, by very much; by far:
She was too talented by half for her routine role.
16.
half again as much / many, as much as 50 percent more:
This mug holds half again as much coffee as the smaller one.
17.
half in two, Southern U.S. (chiefly Gulf States) . in or into two parts; in half:
Cut the cake half in two.
18.
in half, divided into halves:
The vase broke in half.
19.
not half,
  1. not at all; not really:
    His first attempts at painting are not half bad.
  2. half (def 15).
20.
not the half of, a significant yet relatively minor part of something that remains to be described in full:
He accused them of being responsible for the error, and that's not the half of the story.
Also, not half of, not half.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English; Old English h(e)alf; cognate with German Halb, Old Norse halfr, Gothic halbs
Synonyms
13. barely, somewhat, partially; sort of.
Grammar note
See well1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for half
  • The parts have intricate shapes that maintain strength while cutting the weight of the part in half.
  • So instructors who teach half time make half as much as full-time colleagues with similar experience who do the same work.
  • Perhaps half of all hedge funds will go out of business.
  • The easiest way to see increasing temperatures is through the thermometer records kept over the past century and a half.
  • The other half are spouses, friends or acquaintances.
  • There were fires worldwide, a tsunami more than half a mile high and storms of acid rain.
  • Add sugar and half and half, and stir until well blended.
  • And for more than half of the doctors, that simple line does the trick.
  • Life spans are difficult to determine, but some species are known to live more than half a century.
  • The division of labor by the two cerebral hemispheres-once thought to be uniquely human-predates us by half a billion years.
British Dictionary definitions for half

half

/hɑːf/
noun (pl) halves (hɑːvz)
1.
  1. either of two equal or corresponding parts that together comprise a whole
  2. a quantity equalling such a part: half a dozen
2.
half a pint, esp of beer
3.
(Scot) a small drink of spirits, esp whisky
4.
(sport) the half of the pitch regarded as belonging to one team
5.
(golf) an equal score on a hole or round with an opponent
6.
(in various games) either of two periods of play separated by an interval (the first half and second half)
7.
a half-price ticket on a bus, train, etc
8.
short for half-hour
9.
short for halfpenny (sense 1)
10.
(sport) short for halfback
11.
(obsolete) a half-year period
12.
(jocular) better half, a person's wife or husband
13.
by half, by an excessive amount or to an excessive degree: he's too arrogant by half
14.
(used with a negative) by halves, without being thorough or exhaustive: we don't do things by halves
15.
go halves, often foll by on, in, etc
  1. to share the expenses (of something with one other person)
  2. to share the whole amount (of something with another person): to go halves on an orange
determiner
16.
  1. being a half or approximately a half: half the kingdom
  2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural): half of them came
adjective
17.
not perfect or complete; partial: he only did a half job on it
adverb
18.
to the amount or extent of a half
19.
to a great amount or extent
20.
partially; to an extent
21.
(informal) half two, 30 minutes after two o'clock
22.
have half a mind to, to have the intention of
23.
(informal) not half
  1. not in any way: he's not half clever enough
  2. (Brit) really; very; indeed: he isn't half stupid
  3. certainly; yes, indeed
related
prefixes bi- demi- hemi- semi-
Word Origin
Old English healf; related to Old Norse halfr, Old High German halb, Dutch half
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for half

Old English half, halb (Mercian), healf (W. Saxon) "side, part," not necessarily of equal division (original sense preserved in behalf), noun, adjective, and adverb all in Old English, from Proto-Germanic *khalbas "something divided" (cf. Old Saxon halba, Old Norse halfr, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch half, German halb, Gothic halbs "half"), perhaps from PIE (s)kel- "to cut."

Used also in Old English phrases as in modern German, to mean "one half unit less than," e.g. þridda healf "two and a half," literally "half third." The construction in two and a half, etc., is first recorded c.1200. Of time, in half past ten, etc., first attested 1750; in Scottish, the half often is prefixed to the following hour, as in German (e.g. halb elf "ten thirty"). To go off half-cocked "speak or act too hastily" (1833) is in allusion to firearms going off prematurely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for half

half

Related Terms

better half, deuce and a half, a laugh


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with half
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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10
10
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