Definition of half in English:

half

Syllabification: half

noun (plural halves /havz/)

  • 1Either of two equal or corresponding parts into which something is or can be divided: the northern half of the island two and a half years divided in half reduced by half
    More example sentences
    • Slice the roll in half the short way, then slice the halves in half.
    • Cut a starfish in half and both halves can recover to produce two starfish.
    • Try a biscuit crust, tortillas, flatbread such as pita, bun halves or a baguette cut in half lengthwise as bases for pizza toppings.
  • 1.1Either of two equal periods of time into which a sports game or a performance is divided.
    More example sentences
    • The visitors side upped their game in the second half when they had got used to the playing surface.
    • That was a rare moment of danger for Sweden, who dominated possession but only seriously looked like scoring in the closing periods of both halves.
    • He later said the first half was his greatest performance as a pro, and no one who saw it could argue.
    Synonyms
    portion, section, part, period; 50 percent
  • 1.2 Golf A score for an individual hole that is the same as one’s opponent’s.
    More example sentences
    • Scott drove into the rough and had to lay up, but he pitched to six feet and, crucially for his morale, holed for a half to keep him level.
    • The play resumed without penalty and the result of the hole was the half - all square and all to play for.
  • 1.3 short for halfback.
    More example sentences
    • If he plays half for the Knights today, though, I hope the selectors watch him.
    • He plays half or end.

predeterminer , pronoun , & adjective

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  • 1An amount equal to a half: [as predeterminer]: half an hour almost half the children turned up [as pronoun]: half of the lectures are delivered by him [as adjective]: the last half century
    More example sentences
    • When continuing a character, pull out attack cards equal to half your STR.
    • Use a complete suit for each player and a number of Jokers equal to about half the players.
    • That may sound strange for a country which faced the prospect of a nuclear holocaust for almost half a century.
  • 1.1Amounting to a part thought of as roughly a half: [as predeterminer]: half the letters were sent first class [as pronoun]: half of them are gate-crashers
    More example sentences
    • Nowadays he is on first-name terms with at least half of his audience.
    • I imagine at least half the audience was completely off its gourd so God knows what he was doing to the collective psyche.
    • The emcee is desperate to get us to stay, but half the audience gets up to leave anyway.

adverb

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  • 1To the extent of half: the glass was half full
    More example sentences
    • She was holding a half full glass of Glen Livet in her hand as she stared at the Ocean.
    • And in a quick movement, Matthew and picked his half full bottle of Fanta up and walked out of the vending room.
    • In her kitchen she pulled out a half full container.
  • 1.1 [often in combination] To a certain extent; partly: the chicken is half-cooked
    More example sentences
    • In fact, I'm half inclined to start asking for Italy, just to see if I can do it!
    • A lot of money went into it when the pond was repaired and residents believe it should look half decent.
    • She jumped back slightly against the window half afraid of what he was going to say.
    Synonyms
    partially, partly, incompletely, inadequately, insufficiently; in part, part, slightlyto a certain extent/degree, to some extent/degree, (up) to a point, in part, partly, in some measure

Phrases

a —— and a half

informal Used to indicate that one considers a particular person or thing to be an impressive example of their kind: Aunt Edie was a woman and a half
More example sentences
  • Someday I'll find a woman and a half and take her hand.
  • You'll have a vacation and a half with that sort of money!

at half cock

go halves

Share something equally: she promised to go halves with him
More example sentences
  • My brother David and I have gone halves on our presents, I haven't seen this, hence the description.
  • Nell warns that working out the finer details of going halves is not as straightforward as it sounds.
  • So hubby now has it, on the proviso that any gold nuggets he finds, he goes halves with his boss.

half the battle

see battle.

half a chance

informal The slightest opportunity: given half a chance, he can make anything work
More example sentences
  • This pair could intellectualise anything - the teapot, the toast rack, even the toast dust on our breakfast table, if I gave them half a chance - so I don't.
  • Given half a chance, she's rabbiting passionately about cultural strategies, architectural policies and the thorny problem of getting teenage girls into sport.
  • But sick children have only half a chance to be cured six months after birth.

half an eye

see eye.

the half of it

[usually with negative] informal The most important part or aspect of something: you don’t know the half of it
More example sentences
  • And afterwards, she said, ‘You don't know the half of it.’
  • There will be craft and farm produce stalls and this is just the half of it - we are still organising other stalls and events, which will be announced in the near future.
  • Customers used to come into the smithy and say what an interesting old building it was, but that was only the half of it,’ he said.

half past one (two, etc.)

Thirty minutes after one (two, etc.) o’clock.
More example sentences
  • He said, ‘Well, I was asleep between half past one and nine o'clock.’
  • We turned up just before eight o'clock and left at about half past one in the morning.
  • I went in afterwards and the next thing I knew, someone looked at their watch and it was half past two in the morning.

half the time

see time.

not do things by halves

Do things thoroughly or extravagantly.
More example sentences
  • As might be expected from a man who is no stranger to the hundred-piece orchestra, Spiritualized's leader, Jason Pierce, doesn't do things by halves.
  • From the United States - where they don't do things by halves - comes the story of the elderly woman driver about to reverse into a long-sought parking spot, only for three men in a car to drive straight into her place and laugh at her.
  • But I don't do things by halves and I can say that I'm very, very proud to be playing for Scotland; very proud of what we have all achieved.

not half

  • 1Not nearly: he is not half such a fool as they thought
    More example sentences
    • I'm pretty sure they're not half as stressed out and burned out as most of the rest of us.
    • Also, I'm sure you're not half as closed off as Jesse is, and even if you are, at least you're aware enough to know about it, which is something Jesse really needs to work on.
    • While certainly not half as funny as their films, Pootie Tang bounces from scene to scene with the attempt to make the viewer laugh at any cost.
  • 2 informal Not at all: the players are not half bad
    More example sentences
    • And although I'd deny it if ever asked, being in the spotlight for something other than being the worst player on the ball team was not half bad.
    • Still, he's made sure hardcore TT fans will turn out by co-writing a couple of songs with Gary Barlow - they're not up to Take That standards, but they're not half bad.
    • (I am not half bad on wireline technology either, but my focus has been more on wireless).

too —— by half

Used to emphasize something bad: the idea seems too superstitious by half
More example sentences
  • The problem with stalking is twofold: it is both too conspicuous by half and not conspicuous enough, and in both cases it is not treated with the seriousness it deserves.
  • New Year resolutions are just too sensible by half.
  • While some reviewers have seen it as a bold attempt by Welsh to move out of the druggy ghetto he has built for himself, others have found it trite, tedious and too long by half.

Origin

Old English half, healf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch half and German halb (adjectives). The earliest meaning of the Germanic base was 'side', also a noun sense in Old English.

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