Definition of half in US English:

half

nounPlural halves

  • 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.’
    • ‘Divide the ground meats by half and pass one half through the grinder for a second time.’
    • ‘Albany could easily cut this subsidy at least in half and still pay for real charity care.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘According to the plan you can reduce waste by a half or more by composting.’
    • ‘You can figure out how much water you need to drink each day by dividing your weight in half.’
    • ‘Press both halves together to flatten and cut each roll in half before serving.’
    • ‘Do they represent two halves of the same individual or different people?’
    • ‘Divide the mixture in half and mould into two sausage shapes, each about 20 cm long.’
    • ‘Briefly, the femurs were cut in half at the middle of diaphysis and the proximal halves were discarded.’
    • ‘We drew a circle with a horizontal line drawn to divide it in half in the top half of our paper.’
    • ‘Her smile grew wider as she put the halves together and ripped it once more in half.’
    • ‘This was the first match of the second half of the season that last saw action three months ago.’
    • ‘Try a biscuit crust, tortillas, flatbread such as pita, bun halves or a baguette cut in half lengthwise as bases for pizza toppings.’
    • ‘Slice the roll in half the short way, then slice the halves in half.’
    • ‘Cut dough into four equal pieces, cut each piece in half, and roll each piece into a ball.’
    • ‘This damage was only found in half of the pivot, the north half where rye was planted.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Cut the baguette in half lengthways and spread each half with the coriander butter.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The half finished with the Dragons exerting the greater pressure but failing to maintain continuity.’
      • ‘He later said the first half was his greatest performance as a pro, and no one who saw it could argue.’
      • ‘The Selby side came into the game in the second half and were denied by the upright.’
      • ‘A simmering game erupted following the dismissals in the second half of extra-time.’
      • ‘I had a feeling when we walked out, it was going to be a damned good game in the second half.’
      • ‘So boring was the game that the first half had no decent shot at goal and the two goalkeepers were literally on holiday.’
      • ‘The first half concluded with a trapeze act that got nervous applause throughout and a thunderous ovation at the end.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They forced two frees that Rogers converted and the sides were level with six minutes of the half gone.’
      • ‘Cougars lifted their game in the second half and pummelled the Lions line, but could not find the final touch.’
      • ‘With less than three minutes of the second half gone, Henderson latched on to a lax pass and hacked the ball downfield.’
      • ‘The visitors side upped their game in the second half when they had got used to the playing surface.’
      • ‘They were leapfrogged by Matlock Town, who won with goals in stoppage time of both halves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    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
      • ‘If he plays half for the Knights today, though, I hope the selectors watch him.’
      • ‘He plays half or end.’

adjective, predeterminer, & 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’
    • ‘All this was made possible by the convergence of several trends half a century ago.’
    • ‘Over a half of violent offences are believed by the Home Office to be drink related.’
    • ‘This is the picture today after more than half a century since Independence.’
    • ‘Porter and Gershwin hadn't been blockbuster material for almost half a century.’
    • ‘If each had this share, then together they would only account for a half of the total available smartphone market.’
    • ‘This is the knee-jerk reaction common to all regimes that for half a century have held power in the region.’
    • ‘When continuing a character, pull out attack cards equal to half your STR.’
    • ‘More than a half of the total supply is used by homeowners, with the reserves used by industry.’
    • ‘Use a complete suit for each player and a number of Jokers equal to about half the players.’
    • ‘In half of the offences a purse or wallet has been removed from the victim's handbag or pocket.’
    • ‘Only about a quarter to a half of these patients are known to their doctors.’
    • ‘It is fortunate that she enjoyed being retired, because her retirement lasted half a century.’
    • ‘If he has put in half the young player's original value he gets back half of the fee.’
    • ‘The United States has been trying to eliminate its slums for more than half a century.’
    • ‘More than half a century on, the sense of magic is just as strong.’
    • ‘Wouldn't this prove that Europe really regrets what was perpetrated on its soil half a century ago?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That may sound strange for a country which faced the prospect of a nuclear holocaust for almost half a century.’
    • ‘I was born in these hills and, half a century later, found myself filled with both dread and relief.’
    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’
      • ‘After all those centuries, half the population has realised that it is completely naked under its clothes.’
      • ‘The emcee is desperate to get us to stay, but half the audience gets up to leave anyway.’
      • ‘Also in Saudi Arabia, women's testimonies in court are equal to half those of a man.’
      • ‘Apparently half the audience was shocked speechless, but Hawking loved it.’
      • ‘Half of the products tested in this country had less than half the amount stated on the label.’
      • ‘It's complicated and messy, but in the end at least half the audience will sympathise with Gabriel.’
      • ‘Nowadays he is on first-name terms with at least half of his audience.’
      • ‘Three-and-a-half hours, and I think at least half of that was all that wonderful food.’
      • ‘Over half the expected studio audience agreed not to take part in the show.’
      • ‘It is estimated that a half of the US population is now susceptible to smallpox.’
      • ‘I imagine at least half the audience was completely off its gourd so God knows what he was doing to the collective psyche.’
      • ‘The performance was punctuated throughout with the clatter of seats as half the audience walked out.’
      • ‘Without exaggeration, more than half the audience were on their feet cheering.’
      • ‘Typing without half the letters not appearing was going to be the highlight of my evening.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was seated in the celebrity box with my family and I knew half the audience in the hall there.’
      • ‘If you tour right on the heels of a release, half the people in the audience don't have it.’
      • ‘Adding even more to this was the fact that about half the audience were the actual people behind the film.’
      • ‘At least half the audience walked out before the end, irritated and confused.’

adverb

  • 1To the extent of half.

    ‘the glass was half full’
    • ‘She was holding a half full glass of Glen Livet in her hand as she stared at the Ocean.’
    • ‘In her kitchen she pulled out a half full container.’
    • ‘And in a quick movement, Matthew and picked his half full bottle of Fanta up and walked out of the vending room.’
    • ‘By 1970 black America was only half southern and more than three-quarters lived in cities.’
    • ‘Nicabar declared sarcastically as he pushed his coffee aside and picked up a half full bottle of alcohol.’
    • ‘The empty glasses were half filled with a dark golden brew, previously stored in a dark cellar in Copenhagen.’
    • ‘Once there he was handed a half full bottle of vodka and he grinned widely before taking a long pull of the burning liquid.’
    1. 1.1often in combination To a certain extent; partly.
      ‘the chicken is half-cooked’
      • ‘Social criticism is still present, then, but it is half submerged in the dynamics of strong men in conflict.’
      • ‘His understated celebrations said he knew the job was only half done.’
      • ‘They are half afraid to open the door to the postman should he arrive with another registered letter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A lot of money went into it when the pond was repaired and residents believe it should look half decent.’
      • ‘Others prefer to eat them when they are still green or half ripe, when the acid taste predominates.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In fact, I'm half inclined to start asking for Italy, just to see if I can do it!’
      • ‘Cleave is left facing a tragedy and having to come to terms with things failed and half done.’
      • ‘With the job half done, somewhere around the caves of Tora Bora, it got - what?’
      • ‘Since Canon have half decent bits of glass, it was possible to quickly eliminate number three.’
      • ‘We just did that one song, a kinda R&B pop song with half French and half English lyrics.’
      • ‘In the streets half naked Kiwis could be seen running around like lunatics.’
      • ‘She sighed in a half frustrated and half nervous way, and Jason set a mug full of rum before her.’
      • ‘Everitt half committed to entering the race next year with Bourassa as a partner.’
      • ‘In her half conscious state it was only barely that she heard a knock and the door opening.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You'd just keep going forever, 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.’
      • ‘Given half a chance, she's rabbiting passionately about cultural strategies, architectural policies and the thorny problem of getting teenage girls into sport.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Because they'd do it themselves, 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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • the half of it

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

      ‘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.’
      • ‘And afterwards, she said, ‘You don't know the half of it.’’
      • ‘But the truth is Lewis doesn't know the half of it.’
      • ‘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…’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Comedian/songster Tom Lehrer didn't know the half of it.’
      • ‘When I said he had a big mouth, I didn't know the half of it.’
      • ‘And I quietly think to myself ‘You don't know the half of it yet kiddos.’’
      • ‘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.

      • ‘In other news… it's 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?’’
      • ‘We turned up just before eight o'clock and left at about half past one in the morning.’
      • ‘Oh, I could have written something yesterday, but it was half past one when the last guest left.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some of you might have noticed that some time around half past two yesterday afternoon this site disappeared.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • not do things by halves

    • Do things thoroughly or extravagantly.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Six bands, twenty three tracks and boy those Boss Tuneage dudes don't do things by halves.’
      • ‘Ireland's wine drinkers don't do things by halves when they can do it by quarters.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They don't do things by halves - and that goes for showing their affection for each other too.’
      • ‘He didn't do things by halves in his first win, taking pole, fastest lap and the chequers.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘(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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You know, as a sampler of stuff, that'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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This season a re-make of ‘The Night Stalker’ has begun to air on Thursday nights and it's not half bad.’
      • ‘The fiction's not half bad, but it's the non-fiction that stands out.’
      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’
      • ‘While the scientific and engineering aspects of this project are undeniably neat, this thing is just a little too Tolkienesque by half.’
      • ‘However, even at 16 times 2005 profits, the valuation still looks too expensive by half, especially for a mature telecom business.’
      • ‘Unhappily, it only reinforced my prejudices: that travel writers are too smug by half.’
      • ‘New Year resolutions are just too sensible 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.’
      • ‘But that's getting too cute by half with the numbers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's too shrewd by half for you to now say no contracts were signed.’
      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

/haf//hæf/