better half

Idioms & Phrases

better half

  1. Also, . The larger amount or majority of something, as in I won't be long; the better half of this job is complete, or I have spent the better part of my life in this city. Sir Philip Sidney used the first term in Arcadia (1580): "I ... shall think the better half of it already achieved." The variant appears in a well-known proverb, discretion is the better part of valor.

  2. Also, my better half. One's (my) spouse, as in I'm not sure if we can go; I'll have to check with my better half. Originally this expression meant "a close friend or lover," and by the 16th century it referred to either a wife or lover. Sidney used it in this way, again in Arcadia: "My dear, my better half (said he), I find I must now leave thee." Today it tends to be used lightly for either husband or wife. "Late 1500s"

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: better
Next Definition: better late than never
Words Near: better half
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for better half
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing better half
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature