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whole definition


This page has 8 definitions of whole in English. Whole is an adjective, an adverb and noun. Examples of how to use whole in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .


Alternative forms


From Middle English hole (healthy, unhurt, whole), from Old English hāl (healthy, safe), from Proto-West Germanic *hail, from Proto-Germanic *hailaz (whole, safe, sound), from Proto-Indo-European *kóylos (healthy, whole).

The spelling with wh-, introduced in the 15th century, was for disambiguation with hole, and was absent in Scots.



whole (comparative wholer or more whole, superlative wholest or most whole)

  1. Entire, undivided.
    Synonyms: total; see also Thesaurus:entire
    I ate a whole fish.
    • 1661, John Fell, The Life of the most learned, reverend and pious Dr. H. Hammond
      During the whole time of his abode in the university he generally spent thirteen hours of the day in study; by which assiduity besides an exact dispatch of the whole course of philosophy, he read over in a manner all classic authors that are extant []
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619, page 16:
      Athelstan Arundel walked home all the way, foaming and raging. [] He walked the whole way, walking through crowds, and under the noses of dray-horses, carriage-horses, and cart-horses, without taking the least notice of them.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XVI, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071:
      [] She takes the whole thing with desperate seriousness. But the others are all easy and jovial—thinking about the good fare that is soon to be eaten, about the hired fly, about anything.”
    • 2013 June 29, “High and wet”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 28:
      Floods in northern India, mostly in the small state of Uttarakhand, have wrought disaster on an enormous scale. The early, intense onset of the monsoon on June 14th swelled rivers, washing away roads, bridges, hotels and even whole villages.
    1. Used as an intensifier.
      I brought a whole lot of balloons for the party.   She ate a whole bunch of french fries.
      • 2016, Rae Carson, Like a River Glorious, HarperCollins (→ISBN):
        There, a huge blue heron stands sentry like a statue, eye on the surface, waiting for his next meal to wriggle by. A lone grassy hill overlooks it all, well above the flood line, big enough to pitch a whole mess of tents [on].
      • 2011, Keith Maillard, Looking Good: Difficulty at the Beginning, Brindle and Glass (→ISBN):
        I'm thinking, thanks a whole fuck of a lot, Robert. You could have laid that on me weeks ago.
  2. Sound, uninjured, healthy.
    Synonyms: hale, well; see also Thesaurus:healthy
    He is of whole mind, but the same cannot be said about his physical state.
    • 1939, Alfred Edward Housman, Additional Poems, X, lines 5-6
      Here, with one balm for many fevers found, / Whole of an ancient evil, I sleep sound.
  3. (of food) From which none of its constituents has been removed.
    whole wheat; whole milk
  4. (mining) As yet unworked.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


whole (comparative more whole, superlative most whole)

  1. (colloquial) In entirety; entirely; wholly.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:completely
    I ate a fish whole!
    That's a whole other story.



whole (plural wholes)

  1. Something complete, without any parts missing.
    Synonyms: entireness, totality; see also Thesaurus:entirety
    Meronym: part
    This variety of fascinating details didn't fall together into an enjoyable, coherent whole.
  2. An entirety.


Derived terms

Further reading


  • whole at OneLook Dictionary Search.