[haf, hahf]
noun, plural halves [havz, hahvz] .
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.
a quantity or amount equal to such a part (½).
Sports. either of two equal periods of play, usually with an intermission or rest period separating them. Compare quarter ( def 10 ).
one of two; a part of a pair.
the sum of 50 cents: Four dimes and two nickels make a half.
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.
Football. a halfback.
British Informal.
a half-crown coin.
the sum of a half crown; two shillings, sixpence.
a half pint: He ordered a half of ale.
being one of two equal or approximately equal parts of a divisible whole: a half quart.
being half or about half of anything in degree, amount, length, etc.: at half speed; half sleeve.
partial or incomplete: half measures.
in or to the extent or measure of half.
in part; partly; incompletely: half understood.
to some extent; almost: half recovered.
by half, by very much; by far: She was too talented by half for her routine role.
half again as much/many, as much as 50 percent more: This mug holds half again as much coffee as the smaller one.
half in two, Southern U.S. (chiefly Gulf States) . in or into two parts; in half: Cut the cake half in two.
in half, divided into halves: The vase broke in half.
not half,
not at all; not really: His first attempts at painting are not half bad.
half ( def 15 ).
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.

before 900; Middle English; Old English h(e)alf; cognate with German Halb, Old Norse halfr, Gothic halbs

13. barely, somewhat, partially; sort of.

See well1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To Half
World English Dictionary
half (hɑːf)
n (often foll by on, in, etc) , pl halves
1.  a.  either of two equal or corresponding parts that together comprise a whole
 b.  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
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
 a.  to share the expenses (of something with one other person)
 b.  to share the whole amount (of something with another person): to go halves on an orange
16.  a.  being a half or approximately a half: half the kingdom
 b.  (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural): half of them came
17.  not perfect or complete; partial: he only did a half job on it
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
 a.  not in any way: he's not half clever enough
 b.  (Brit) really; very; indeed: he isn't half stupid
 c.  certainly; yes, indeed
Related: bi-, demi-, hemi-, semi-
[Old English healf; related to Old Norse halfr, Old High German halb, Dutch half]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. half, halb (Mercian), healf (W. Saxon) "side, part" (original sense preserved in behalf), from P.Gmc. *khalbas "something divided" (cf. O.N. halfr, O.Fris., M.Du. half, Ger. halb, Goth. halbs "half"). Used also in O.E. phrases as in modern Ger., to mean "one half unit less than," cf. þridda
healf "two and a half," lit. "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 Ger. (halb elf "ten thirty"). Half-and-half "ale and porter" is from 1756; half-baked in sense of "silly" is from 1855; half-breed "mixed race" is from 1760; half-blooded in this sense is from c.1600. Half-brother (early 14c.) and half-sister (c.1200) were in M.E.. Halftime in football is from 1871. half-truth is first recorded 1658; half-hearted is from 1610s. To go off half-cocked "speak or act too hastily" (1833) is in allusion to firearms.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with half, also see at half-mast; better half; by half; glass is half full; go halfway; go off (half-cocked); in half; not bad (half bad); six of one, half dozen of the other; time and a half; with half an eye. Also see under halfway; halves.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
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.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature