Definition of half in English:

half

noun

  • 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’
    • ‘Do they represent two halves of the same individual or different people?’
    • ‘Her smile grew wider as she put the halves together and ripped it once more in half.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Divide the ground meats by half and pass one half through the grinder for a second time.’
    • ‘According to the plan you can reduce waste by a half or more by composting.’
    • ‘Cut dough into four equal pieces, cut each piece in half, and roll each piece into a ball.’
    • ‘This was the first match of the second half of the season that last saw action three months ago.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Albany could easily cut this subsidy at least in half and still pay for real charity care.’
    • ‘Briefly, the femurs were cut in half at the middle of diaphysis and the proximal halves were discarded.’
    • ‘Divide the mixture in half and mould into two sausage shapes, each about 20 cm long.’
    • ‘Cut the baguette in half lengthways and spread each half with the coriander butter.’
    • ‘Try a biscuit crust, tortillas, flatbread such as pita, bun halves or a baguette cut in half lengthwise as bases for pizza toppings.’
    • ‘You can figure out how much water you need to drink each day by dividing your weight in half.’
    • ‘Slice the roll in half the short way, then slice the halves in 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.’
    • ‘Press both halves together to flatten and cut each roll in half before serving.’
    • ‘Cut a starfish in half and both halves can recover to produce two starfish.’
    • ‘And tell your husband that you are going to cut the time you spend in the kitchen by half or even more.’
    fifty per cent of, bisection of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Either of two equal periods of time into which a sports game or a performance is divided.
      • ‘I had a feeling when we walked out, it was going to be a damned good game in the second half.’
      • ‘The half finished with the Dragons exerting the greater pressure but failing to maintain continuity.’
      • ‘Cougars lifted their game in the second half and pummelled the Lions line, but could not find the final touch.’
      • ‘The visitors side upped their game in the second half when they had got used to the playing surface.’
      • ‘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 Selby side came into the game in the second half and were denied by the upright.’
      • ‘They were leapfrogged by Matlock Town, who won with goals in stoppage time of both halves.’
      • ‘A simmering game erupted following the dismissals in the second half of extra-time.’
      • ‘With less than three minutes of the second half gone, Henderson latched on to a lax pass and hacked the ball downfield.’
      • ‘So boring was the game that the first half had no decent shot at goal and the two goalkeepers were literally on holiday.’
      • ‘It ended a run of 14 games unbeaten and it was a sickener to concede in injury time of both halves.’
      • ‘What is more exciting in football at any level than a scoring drive in the last few minutes of a half or a game?’
      • ‘Only in a bruising period of the second half, when the game turned scrappy, did Hibs lose their composure and control.’
      • ‘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 first half concluded with a trapeze act that got nervous applause throughout and a thunderous ovation at the end.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He later said the first half was his greatest performance as a pro, and no one who saw it could argue.’
      • ‘They forced two frees that Rogers converted and the sides were level with six minutes of the half gone.’
      • ‘The second half started as it was to go on, with endless comings and goings between the two substitutes benches and the field.’
      • ‘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.’
    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.’

pronoun, adjective, & predeterminer

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

adverb

  • 1To the extent of half.

    ‘the glass was half full’
    • ‘And in a quick movement, Matthew and picked his half full bottle of Fanta up and walked out of the vending room.’
    • ‘The empty glasses were half filled with a dark golden brew, previously stored in a dark cellar in Copenhagen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In her kitchen she pulled out a half full container.’
    1. 1.1[often in combination] To a certain extent; partly.
      ‘the chicken is half-cooked’
      • ‘Cleave is left facing a tragedy and having to come to terms with things failed and half done.’
      • ‘A lot of money went into it when the pond was repaired and residents believe it should look half decent.’
      • ‘When Macbeth is hunched over, scrawny and half bald he does not radiate a sinister charisma.’
      • ‘In the streets half naked Kiwis could be seen running around like lunatics.’
      • ‘She jumped back slightly against the window half afraid of what he was going to say.’
      • ‘With the job half done, somewhere around the caves of Tora Bora, it got - what?’
      • ‘Social criticism is still present, then, but it is half submerged in the dynamics of strong men in conflict.’
      • ‘We just did that one song, a kinda R&B pop song with half French and half English lyrics.’
      • ‘They are half afraid to open the door to the postman should he arrive with another registered letter.’
      • ‘She sighed in a half frustrated and half nervous way, and Jason set a mug full of rum before her.’
      • ‘Even then you are only half confident of getting your subject spuffed on in quality men's monthlies across Britain.’
      • ‘Everitt half committed to entering the race next year with Bourassa as a partner.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘A half decent story and a better script and it might have been fun.’
      • ‘In her half conscious state it was only barely that she heard a knock and the door opening.’
      • ‘Working on Macbeth, he drove his librettist half insane with demands that he stick close to Shakespeare.’
      • ‘His epilogue, half desperate, half triumphant, is one of the best I've heard.’
      • ‘His understated celebrations said he knew the job was only half done.’
      • ‘Since Canon have half decent bits of glass, it was possible to quickly eliminate number three.’
      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, 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.’
  • at half cock

  • go halves

    • Share something equally.

      • ‘So i chimed in and said that i'd go halves with him.’
      • ‘My brother is 24 years old and was the only one in the family offered to go halves with my parents in a property near Noosa, a stunning part of Queensland.’
      • ‘‘I'll go halves with you either way,’ I replied.’
      • ‘I didn't tell him that during the summer we had come to an arrangement with the neighbours on the other side of our house - the ones who owned the falling-down fence on that side - to go halves on the costs of replacing it.’
      • ‘The asking price was IR £40,000, but we were strapped and couldn't afford it and neither could the other couple, so we decided to go halves, taking an acre apiece.’
      • ‘Three blokes are going shares in building this new house.’
      • ‘Incredibly, he won the £20,000 jackpot but with humbling generosity he is keeping his word to go halves and now wants Marge to get in touch because he has lost her phone number.’
      • ‘In that case, I know you can afford to go halves.’
      • ‘I ordered it last week but didn't say anything as it was a surprise for Mum and Dad, who had previously agreed to go halves with me.’
      • ‘She does know that in Dunedin, Jack met up with Jimmy Wai, a cousin from his village, and was persuaded to go shares in starting up the business.’
    • Share something equally.

      ‘she promised to go halves with him’
      • ‘I have also found on big buys on items that you would probably sell, find a partner that will goes halves with you.’
      • ‘Christine and I have gone halves in the purchase of the second Icelandic, but she gets to ride it as I am kept pretty busy riding the other two.’
      • ‘So we went halves in the cost, picked a colour that we both loved, and it's been ordered!’
      • ‘Nell warns that working out the finer details of going halves is not as straightforward as it sounds.’
      • ‘Maybe we could clan together and go halves or quarters or however many want to share.’
      • ‘My brother David and I have gone halves on our presents, I haven't seen this, hence the description.’
      • ‘My brother and I were going to go halves on a thumpstar, but at the price of these bikes we could buy one each.’
      • ‘If you can't afford a shirt yourself goes halves with someone you love and trust.’
      • ‘He was bemoaning himself this morning because he could not get someone to go halves with him in some nice rooms which he had found, and which were too much for his purse.’
      • ‘So hubby now has it, on the proviso that any gold nuggets he finds, he goes halves with his boss.’
  • half the battle

    • An important step toward achieving something.

      ‘he never gives in, and that's half the battle’
      • ‘If you've ever had the displeasure of tangling with your landlord at the rental board, you know getting yourself down there is half the battle.’
      • ‘But let's take it a step further and say that recruiting and training is only half the battle.’
      • ‘If they approve of you, you've won half the battle.’
      • ‘But they admit that being a good rider is only half the battle.’
      • ‘Curiosity is the first step towards knowledge, and knowing is half the battle.’
      • ‘If a good start is half the battle then two good starts will surely win most battles.’
      • ‘I knew that was only half the battle - exercise was going to be an important component to my weight loss.’
      • ‘However, all these matter are only half the battle.’
      • ‘Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and body is half the battle at this stage.’
      • ‘Winning self-government is only half the battle; for thereafter you have to start governing yourselves and this is a lot more difficult than it sounds.’
  • half a chance

    • informal The slightest opportunity.

      ‘given half a chance, he can make anything work’
      • ‘He is York City through and through and when you have players like Darren on board then you have half a chance.’
      • ‘No wonder most petroleum analysts and traders see more than half a chance of oil hitting $40 or even $50.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Because they'd do it themselves, given half a chance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But sick children have only half a chance to be cured six months after birth.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You'd just keep going forever, given half a chance.’
  • half an eye

    • Used in reference to a slight degree of perception or attention.

      ‘he kept half an eye on the house as he worked’
      • ‘He looks at them with half an eye, while flicking between the six or seven collapsed documents on his computer screen.’
      • ‘I spent most of the afternoon sitting on the grass, with half an eye on the big screen, and in between reading and chatting to people around me.’
      • ‘By then, I'd also discovered that, in the process of trying to restore the default settings on my digital camera while keeping half an eye on my oldest daughter, I instead erased the memory card, and all photos of the pumpkin patch.’
      • ‘So I'm still keeping half an eye out for nice apartments downtown.’
      • ‘I had only half an eye on what was happening, however.’
      • ‘He is undoubtedly his own person and he vigorously pursues his own distinctive campaigns with flair and more than half an eye for the media coverage.’
      • ‘So, once you've chosen your shrubs with half an eye on the living room, and spent a week or two's rent on bulbs, what next?’
      • ‘Greece, like Spain, has to have half an eye on the weather when organising its school year.’
      • ‘Your man Henry had more than half an eye on his future employment when he sat down with the selectors.’
      • ‘Anyone who keeps even a half an eye on the supercomputing scene is probably well puzzled by the idea that even more federal handouts need to go the likes of Cray and IBM.’
  • the half of it

    • informal [usually with negative]The most important part or aspect of something.

      ‘you don't know the half of it’
      • ‘But the truth is Lewis doesn't know 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.’
      • ‘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…’
      • ‘So there goes the Junior Prom, but that's not 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.’
      • ‘When I said he had a big mouth, I didn't know the half of it.’
  • half past one (two, etc.)

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

      • ‘Some of you might have noticed that some time around half past two yesterday afternoon this site disappeared.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Oh, I could have written something yesterday, but it was half past one when the last guest left.’
      • ‘I went in afterwards and the next thing I knew, someone looked at their watch and it was half past two in the morning.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In other news… it's half past one in the morning.’
      • ‘It all started with an intensive lie-in when an invisible force kept me in bed until about half past one in the afternoon.’
      • ‘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?’’
      • ‘We turned up just before eight o'clock and left at about half past one in the morning.’
      • ‘He said, ‘Well, I was asleep between half past one and nine o'clock.’’
  • half the time

    • As often as not.

      • ‘I accomplished it in half the time as my first attempt last week and the results are more polished.’
      • ‘Almost half the time, rejection or delay of loans is due to insufficient documentation.’
      • ‘Hit counters don't work half the time and only record the last hundred visitors which is no good if you get more visitors than that in a day.’
      • ‘I now complete my journey in half the time, stress has been replaced with enjoyment and I'm saving a small fortune.’
      • ‘He sits in the adjacent cubicle, and I am barely aware he's even there half the time.’
      • ‘It's not too keen on some of my hardware, refusing to speak to my camera and refusing to even boot half the time when my card reader is plugged in.’
      • ‘The thing is, half the time, my friend would stir early and hover in the groggy world of the almost-awake.’
      • ‘It certainly left me standing on the shores of the Atlantic more than half the time.’
      • ‘It would come out wrong half the time, and they would tell me to shut up.’
      • ‘All else being equal, the modern bus will pick me up half the time.’
  • not do things by halves

    • Do things thoroughly or extravagantly.

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

    • 1Not nearly.

      ‘he is not half such a fool as they thought’
      • ‘I was a bit nervous but not half as bad as when I was waiting to go in to bat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I, on the other hand, was not half as comely as they, and definitely not an object of his desire, so I could hold his gaze for as long as I wanted.’
      • ‘But the situation was not half as bad as it could have been.’
      • ‘Alas poor Peter, Prince of Darkness, not half as good as you thought you were, not half as bad as most people thought you were, you had to go.’
      • ‘I'm pretty sure they're not half as stressed out and burned out as most of the rest of us.’
      • ‘And I said, knowing it was a ‘go’ almost, ‘That's not half as bad, Mr Greene, as losing your biographer.’’
      • ‘Girlie, she's not half as bad as you were in freshman year.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When we moved to South Africa in 1984 we were extremely culture-shocked by materialism here - and it's not half as bad as elsewhere!’
      really, certainly, definitely, decidedly, assuredly, surely, very much, to a great extent, to a considerable extent, for sure, indeed
      View synonyms
    • 2Not at all.

      ‘the players are 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.’
      • ‘(I am not half bad on wireline technology either, but my focus has been more on wireless).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The fiction's not half bad, but it's the non-fiction that stands out.’
      • ‘This season a re-make of ‘The Night Stalker’ has begun to air on Thursday nights 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.’
      • ‘We're talking massively complicated stuff that I wouldn't even fathom creating myself, and I'm not half bad with this stuff.’
      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
      View synonyms
  • too —— by half

    • Used to emphasize something bad.

      ‘the idea seems too superstitious 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.’
      • ‘While the scientific and engineering aspects of this project are undeniably neat, this thing is just a little too Tolkienesque by half.’
      • ‘Unhappily, it only reinforced my prejudices: that travel writers are too smug 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.’
      • ‘New Year resolutions are just too sensible by half.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’

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

/haf/