Definition of half in US English:

half

noun

  • 1Either of two equal or corresponding parts into which something is or can be divided.

    ‘two and a half years’
    ‘the northern half of the island’
    ‘divide the cake in half’
    ‘spending was reduced by half’
    • ‘Yes, the Park will be bigger but, unfortunately, it will be split in half and surely that is the whole point of this debate.’
    • ‘We drew a circle with a horizontal line drawn to divide it in half in the top half of our paper.’
    • ‘This damage was only found in half of the pivot, the north half where rye was planted.’
    • ‘Do they represent two halves of the same individual or different people?’
    • ‘Press both halves together to flatten and cut each roll in half before serving.’
    • ‘According to the plan you can reduce waste by a half or more by composting.’
    • ‘And tell your husband that you are going to cut the time you spend in the kitchen by half or even more.’
    • ‘Her smile grew wider as she put the halves together and ripped it once more in half.’
    • ‘Cut the baguette in half lengthways and spread each half with the coriander butter.’
    • ‘Cut a starfish in half and both halves can recover to produce two starfish.’
    • ‘This was the first match of the second half of the season that last saw action three months ago.’
    • ‘Cut dough into four equal pieces, cut each piece in half, and roll each piece into a ball.’
    • ‘Albany could easily cut this subsidy at least in half and still pay for real charity care.’
    • ‘Divide the ground meats by half and pass one half through the grinder for a second time.’
    • ‘Divide the mixture in half and mould into two sausage shapes, each about 20 cm long.’
    • ‘The upper and lower halves of this box correspond not to waist up and waist down, but to left and right on the dancer's body.’
    • ‘Slice the roll in half the short way, then slice the halves in half.’
    • ‘You can figure out how much water you need to drink each day by dividing your weight in half.’
    • ‘Briefly, the femurs were cut in half at the middle of diaphysis and the proximal halves were discarded.’
    • ‘Try a biscuit crust, tortillas, flatbread such as pita, bun halves or a baguette cut in half lengthwise as bases for pizza toppings.’
    fifty per cent of, bisection of
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    1. 1.1 Either of two equal periods of time into which a sports game or a performance is divided.
      • ‘It ended a run of 14 games unbeaten and it was a sickener to concede in injury time of both halves.’
      • ‘The matches would feel more real and there would be less of a need to go through the half-dozen substitutions which regularly mark the second halves of such games.’
      • ‘He later said the first half was his greatest performance as a pro, and no one who saw it could argue.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The visitors side upped their game in the second half when they had got used to the playing surface.’
      • ‘The half finished with the Dragons exerting the greater pressure but failing to maintain continuity.’
      • ‘It got rid of the controversial and hated shoot-out, added stoppage time at the end of halves and games, and the clock counts up instead of down.’
      • ‘Cougars lifted their game in the second half and pummelled the Lions line, but could not find the final touch.’
      • ‘The second half started as it was to go on, with endless comings and goings between the two substitutes benches and the field.’
      • ‘They were leapfrogged by Matlock Town, who won with goals in stoppage time of both halves.’
      • ‘The Selby side came into the game in the second half and were denied by the upright.’
      • ‘So boring was the game that the first half had no decent shot at goal and the two goalkeepers were literally on holiday.’
      • ‘I had a feeling when we walked out, it was going to be a damned good game in the second half.’
      • ‘Hockey is an 11-a-side game played over two halves of 35 minutes, with goals more often than not coming from set-pieces such as corners or penalties.’
      • ‘The first half concluded with a trapeze act that got nervous applause throughout and a thunderous ovation at the end.’
      • ‘Only in a bruising period of the second half, when the game turned scrappy, did Hibs lose their composure and control.’
      • ‘A simmering game erupted following the dismissals in the second half of extra-time.’
      • ‘What is more exciting in football at any level than a scoring drive in the last few minutes of a half or a game?’
      • ‘With less than three minutes of the second half gone, Henderson latched on to a lax pass and hacked the ball downfield.’
      • ‘They forced two frees that Rogers converted and the sides were level with six minutes of the half gone.’
    2. 1.2Golf A score for an individual hole that is the same as one's opponent's.
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3
      short for halfback
      • ‘He plays half or end.’
      • ‘If he plays half for the Knights today, though, I hope the selectors watch him.’

predeterminer, adjective, & pronoun

  • 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’
    • ‘In half of the offences a purse or wallet has been removed from the victim's handbag or pocket.’
    • ‘This is the picture today after more than half a century since Independence.’
    • ‘When continuing a character, pull out attack cards equal to half your STR.’
    • ‘Wouldn't this prove that Europe really regrets what was perpetrated on its soil half a century ago?’
    • ‘This is the knee-jerk reaction common to all regimes that for half a century have held power in the region.’
    • ‘The United States has been trying to eliminate its slums for more than half a century.’
    • ‘If he has put in half the young player's original value he gets back half of the fee.’
    • ‘It is fortunate that she enjoyed being retired, because her retirement lasted half a century.’
    • ‘More than a half of the total supply is used by homeowners, with the reserves used by industry.’
    • ‘More than half of the games were ended prematurely, with no play possible in one game.’
    • ‘Use a complete suit for each player and a number of Jokers equal to about half the players.’
    • ‘Over a half of violent offences are believed by the Home Office to be drink related.’
    • ‘More than half a century on, the sense of magic is just as strong.’
    • ‘Over more than half a century his talent and intensity have proven big enough to fill any role.’
    • ‘All this was made possible by the convergence of several trends half a century ago.’
    • ‘I was born in these hills and, half a century later, found myself filled with both dread and relief.’
    • ‘If each had this share, then together they would only account for a half of the total available smartphone market.’
    • ‘Only about a quarter to a half of these patients are known to their doctors.’
    • ‘That may sound strange for a country which faced the prospect of a nuclear holocaust for almost half a century.’
    • ‘Porter and Gershwin hadn't been blockbuster material for almost half a century.’
    1. 1.1 An amount thought of as roughly a half.
      as pronoun ‘half of them are gatecrashers’
      as predeterminer ‘half the letters were sent first class’
      • ‘At least half the audience walked out before the end, irritated and confused.’
      • ‘After all those centuries, half the population has realised that it is completely naked under its clothes.’
      • ‘Nowadays he is on first-name terms with at least half of his audience.’
      • ‘It is estimated that a half of the US population is now susceptible to smallpox.’
      • ‘Half of the products tested in this country had less than half the amount stated on the label.’
      • ‘The emcee is desperate to get us to stay, but half the audience gets up to leave anyway.’
      • ‘Typing without half the letters not appearing was going to be the highlight of my evening.’
      • ‘If you tour right on the heels of a release, half the people in the audience don't have it.’
      • ‘Three-and-a-half hours, and I think at least half of that was all that wonderful food.’
      • ‘I imagine at least half the audience was completely off its gourd so God knows what he was doing to the collective psyche.’
      • ‘Also in Saudi Arabia, women's testimonies in court are equal to half those of a man.’
      • ‘I was seated in the celebrity box with my family and I knew half the audience in the hall there.’
      • ‘It's complicated and messy, but in the end at least half the audience will sympathise with Gabriel.’
      • ‘Apparently half the audience was shocked speechless, but Hawking loved it.’
      • ‘Over half the expected studio audience agreed not to take part in the show.’
      • ‘Without exaggeration, more than half the audience were on their feet cheering.’
      • ‘Adding even more to this was the fact that about half the audience were the actual people behind the film.’
      • ‘Twenty years ago the total debt of U.S. households was equal to half the size of the economy.’
      • ‘For a start, I can spend half the day answering phone calls, e-mails and letters.’
      • ‘The performance was punctuated throughout with the clatter of seats as half the audience walked out.’

adverb

  • 1To the extent of half.

    ‘the glass was half full’
    • ‘By 1970 black America was only half southern and more than three-quarters lived in cities.’
    • ‘She was holding a half full glass of Glen Livet in her hand as she stared at the Ocean.’
    • ‘The empty glasses were half filled with a dark golden brew, previously stored in a dark cellar in Copenhagen.’
    • ‘In her kitchen she pulled out a half full container.’
    • ‘Once there he was handed a half full bottle of vodka and he grinned widely before taking a long pull of the burning liquid.’
    • ‘Nicabar declared sarcastically as he pushed his coffee aside and picked up a half full bottle of alcohol.’
    • ‘And in a quick movement, Matthew and picked his half full bottle of Fanta up and walked out of the vending room.’
    1. 1.1often in combination To a certain extent; partly.
      ‘the chicken is half-cooked’
      • ‘We just did that one song, a kinda R&B pop song with half French and half English lyrics.’
      • ‘In her half conscious state it was only barely that she heard a knock and the door opening.’
      • ‘Social criticism is still present, then, but it is half submerged in the dynamics of strong men in conflict.’
      • ‘A lot of money went into it when the pond was repaired and residents believe it should look half decent.’
      • ‘Since Canon have half decent bits of glass, it was possible to quickly eliminate number three.’
      • ‘Everitt half committed to entering the race next year with Bourassa as a partner.’
      • ‘His understated celebrations said he knew the job was only half done.’
      • ‘Cleave is left facing a tragedy and having to come to terms with things failed and half done.’
      • ‘She jumped back slightly against the window half afraid of what he was going to say.’
      • ‘His epilogue, half desperate, half triumphant, is one of the best I've heard.’
      • ‘With the job half done, somewhere around the caves of Tora Bora, it got - what?’
      • ‘Others prefer to eat them when they are still green or half ripe, when the acid taste predominates.’
      • ‘In fact, I'm half inclined to start asking for Italy, just to see if I can do it!’
      • ‘She sighed in a half frustrated and half nervous way, and Jason set a mug full of rum before her.’
      • ‘They are half afraid to open the door to the postman should he arrive with another registered letter.’
      • ‘A half decent story and a better script and it might have been fun.’
      • ‘Working on Macbeth, he drove his librettist half insane with demands that he stick close to Shakespeare.’
      • ‘When Macbeth is hunched over, scrawny and half bald he does not radiate a sinister charisma.’
      • ‘Even then you are only half confident of getting your subject spuffed on in quality men's monthlies across Britain.’
      • ‘In the streets half naked Kiwis could be seen running around like lunatics.’
      partially, partly, incompletely, inadequately, insufficiently, slightly, barely, in part, part, to a limited degree, to a limited extent, in some measure
      to a certain degree, to a certain extent, to a limited degree, to a limited extent, to some degree, to some extent, to a point, up to a point, in part, partly, in some measure
      View synonyms

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’
      • ‘You'll have a vacation and a half with that sort of money!’
      • ‘Someday I'll find a woman and a half and take her hand.’
  • half a chance

    • informal The slightest opportunity.

      ‘given half a chance he can make anything work’
      • ‘You'd just keep going forever, given half a chance.’
      • ‘Given half a chance, she's rabbiting passionately about cultural strategies, architectural policies and the thorny problem of getting teenage girls into sport.’
      • ‘Because they'd do it themselves, given half a chance.’
      • ‘He is York City through and through and when you have players like Darren on board then you have half a chance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No wonder most petroleum analysts and traders see more than half a chance of oil hitting $40 or even $50.’
      • ‘But sick children have only half a chance to be cured six months after birth.’
      • ‘It might be, if the claimants have pastoral or farming skills and can reasonably be expected to build productive enterprises on that land if given half a chance.’
      • ‘I can't think of a single guitarist I've ever known in my life that didn't do the duckwalk given half a chance.’
      • ‘Everyone knows that there is just not enough for some youngsters to do, that there is insufficient parental control and that they are probably decent kids given half a chance.’
  • the half of it

    • informal usually with negativeThe most important part or aspect of something.

      ‘you don't know the half of it’
      • ‘Comedian/songster Tom Lehrer didn't know the half of it.’
      • ‘And I quietly think to myself ‘You don't know the half of it yet kiddos.’’
      • ‘The relatively short trip from North Carolina to Gotham isn't the half of it, though: for Campbell, his professional career has proved to be the proverbial roller-coaster ride.’
      • ‘More recently, we've brought you stories of pantomime horses and drunken ants - although take my word that the tales which made it into print are only the half of it…’
      • ‘And afterwards, she said, ‘You don't know the half of it.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the truth is Lewis doesn't know the half of it.’
      • ‘When I said he had a big mouth, I didn'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.’
      • ‘So there goes the Junior Prom, but that's not the half of it.’
  • half past one (or two etc.)

    • Thirty minutes after one (two, etc.) o'clock.

      • ‘Oh, I could have written something yesterday, but it was half past one when the last guest left.’
      • ‘I'm looking for people who may have seen something suspicious at about quarter past one to say half past one or quarter to two, in that area.’
      • ‘By this time it would have been about half past one, and we slowly made our way back to the hotel, stopping at a few bars on the way home.’
      • ‘I went in afterwards and the next thing I knew, someone looked at their watch and it was half past two in the morning.’
      • ‘He said, ‘Well, I was asleep between half past one and nine o'clock.’’
      • ‘It all started with an intensive lie-in when an invisible force kept me in bed until about half past one in the afternoon.’
      • ‘We turned up just before eight o'clock and left at about half past one in the morning.’
      • ‘He kept his promise to arrive at the sofa, at which reporters had been waiting, at half past one, and asked in a very grown-up sort of way: ‘How long will the interview last?’’
      • ‘Some of you might have noticed that some time around half past two yesterday afternoon this site disappeared.’
      • ‘In other news… it's half past one in the morning.’
  • not do things by halves

    • Do things thoroughly or extravagantly.

      • ‘As ever in his life, McLuskey didn't do things by halves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The PCB doesn't do things by halves and they certainly didn't this time.’
      • ‘Hackers don't do things by halves; if they invest in a skill at all, they tend to get very good at it.’
      • ‘They don't do things by halves - and that goes for showing their affection for each other too.’
      • ‘Ireland's wine drinkers don't do things by halves when they can do it by quarters.’
      • ‘He didn't do things by halves in his first win, taking pole, fastest lap and the chequers.’
      • ‘Six bands, twenty three tracks and boy those Boss Tuneage dudes don't do things by halves.’
      incompletely, imperfectly, inadequately, insufficiently, partially, scrappily, skimpily, to a limited degree, to a limited extent
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  • not half

    • 1informal Not at all; in no way.

      ‘the players are not half bad’
      • ‘The fiction's not half bad, but it's the non-fiction that stands out.’
      • ‘(I am not half bad on wireline technology either, but my focus has been more on wireless).’
      • ‘We're talking massively complicated stuff that I wouldn't even fathom creating myself, and I'm not half bad with this stuff.’
      • ‘You know, as a sampler of stuff, that's not half bad.’
      • ‘Last night's debate was not half bad for an idiot, but how can people even THINK to vote for him after seeing the first one.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Instead of Philosopher's Stone's mindless parade of the book's high spots, there's an actual story here and it's not half bad.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This season a re-make of ‘The Night Stalker’ has begun to air on Thursday nights and it's not half bad.’
      • ‘Then we went to the pub, caught public transport home, slept for a couple of hours and went to our validictory dinner which was good, bit teary, but not half bad.’
      not at all, not a bit, not in any way, by no means, absolutely not, most certainly not, not for a moment, not nearly, not the slightest bit, to no extent
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    • 2informal To an extreme degree; very much so.

      ‘she didn't half flare up!’
      • ‘Anyway, it didn't half give me backache, pulling it.’
      • ‘Well, it's got to be said that while judging the Interactive BAFTAs was fabulously fulfilling experience, I'm not half glad it's over.’
      really, certainly, definitely, decidedly, assuredly, surely, very much, to a great extent, to a considerable extent, for sure, indeed
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  • too — by half

    • Used to emphasize something bad.

      ‘the idea seems too superstitious by half’
      • ‘There was one other thing that I just wanted to correct for the record because I think that this was an example of his playing it just a little bit too cute by half.’
      • ‘Sheila sent me this link months ago, but I've been too scared to post it in case it makes me look… well… too smug by half.’
      • ‘New Year resolutions are just too sensible by half.’
      • ‘Unhappily, it only reinforced my prejudices: that travel writers are too smug by half.’
      • ‘However, even at 16 times 2005 profits, the valuation still looks too expensive by half, especially for a mature telecom business.’
      • ‘It's too shrewd by half for you to now say no contracts were signed.’
      • ‘But that's getting too cute by half with the numbers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While the scientific and engineering aspects of this project are undeniably neat, this thing is just a little too Tolkienesque by half.’
      unduly, overly, excessively, exceedingly, inordinately, disproportionately, far too, to too great an degree, to too great an extent, by an excessive amount
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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.

Pronunciation

half

/hæf//haf/