Meaning of half in English:

half

nounhalves

  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Press both halves together to flatten and cut each roll in half before serving.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You can figure out how much water you need to drink each day by dividing your weight in half.’
    • ‘Cut the baguette in half lengthways and spread each half with the coriander butter.’
    • ‘Cut dough into four equal pieces, cut each piece in half, and roll each piece into a ball.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yes, the Park will be bigger but, unfortunately, it will be split in half and surely that is the whole point of this debate.’
    • ‘Albany could easily cut this subsidy at least in half and still pay for real charity care.’
    • ‘Do they represent two halves of the same individual or different people?’
    • ‘This was the first match of the second half of the season that last saw action three months ago.’
    fifty per cent of, bisection of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Either of two equal periods of time into which a sports game or a performance is divided.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They were leapfrogged by Matlock Town, who won with goals in stoppage time of both halves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What is more exciting in football at any level than a scoring drive in the last few minutes of a half or a game?’
      • ‘I had a feeling when we walked out, it was going to be a damned good game in the second half.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cougars lifted their game in the second half and pummelled the Lions line, but could not find the final touch.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The half finished with the Dragons exerting the greater pressure but failing to maintain continuity.’
      • ‘With less than three minutes of the second half gone, Henderson latched on to a lax pass and hacked the ball downfield.’
      • ‘The first half concluded with a trapeze act that got nervous applause throughout and a thunderous ovation at the end.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2British informal Half a pint of beer or a similar drink.
      ‘ a half of bitter’
      • ‘Seriously, get her to drink a half of stout a day as a basis for any magick she does.’
      • ‘Two airline stewardesses were sacked for drinking a half of lager each before a flight.’
      • ‘Usually we'd have a half of beer, but on this occasion someone suggested a glass of sherry, because it dried you out.’
      • ‘We sat down with a half of Timothy Taylor's for me, and a pint for him, to make our choices.’
      • ‘Lester wanted to lump him, Mike reckoned there was a story in it and Lucy calmed him down by buying him a half of Guinness.’
      • ‘I then suggested that perhaps all they needed was a nice cup of coffee or a half of shandy.’
      • ‘He was supping a half of Guinness while looking oddly like a Guinness himself in his black polo neck and angular shock of white hair.’
      • ‘I've got my eye on one or two oddly named brews - I fancy a half of the Norwich Terrier, for instance.’
      • ‘If you build a good pub, the women will come - and may just be persuaded to swap their G'n'T for a half of Terrier.’
      • ‘I still don't know, but the whole dish, washed down with a half of bitter, sure tasted great.’
      • ‘With a couple of pints and two halves of lager plus coffees, our bill came to a few pence over £37-not unreasonable for this standard of Indian restaurant.’
      • ‘Now, here's the rub: our meal plus two pints and two halves of lager set us back a whopping £50.90.’
    3. 1.3informal A half-price fare or ticket, especially for a child.
      ‘Hey, to the guy who bought a half for 80, you're a moron.’
    4. 1.4Golf A score for an individual hole that is the same as one's opponent's.
      ‘she holed from six feet for a half at the seventeenth’
      • ‘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.’
    5. 1.5
      short for half back
      ‘If he plays half for the Knights today, though, I hope the selectors watch him.’
      short for half back
      ‘He plays half or end.’

predeterminer, pronoun, & adjective

  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is the knee-jerk reaction common to all regimes that for half a century have held power in the region.’
    • ‘Wouldn't this prove that Europe really regrets what was perpetrated on its soil half a century ago?’
    • ‘Over more than half a century his talent and intensity have proven big enough to fill any role.’
    • ‘It is fortunate that she enjoyed being retired, because her retirement lasted half a century.’
    • ‘Porter and Gershwin hadn't been blockbuster material for almost half a century.’
    • ‘More than half a century on, the sense of magic is just as strong.’
    • ‘The United States has been trying to eliminate its slums for more than half a century.’
    • ‘All this was made possible by the convergence of several trends half a century ago.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In half of the offences a purse or wallet has been removed from the victim's handbag or pocket.’
    • ‘More than a half of the total supply is used by homeowners, with the reserves used by industry.’
    • ‘Only about a quarter to a half of these patients are known to their doctors.’
    • ‘If each had this share, then together they would only account for a half of the total available smartphone market.’
    • ‘If he has put in half the young player's original value he gets back half of the fee.’
    • ‘Over a half of violent offences are believed by the Home Office to be drink related.’
    1. 1.1An amount thought of as roughly a half.
      as predeterminer ‘half the audience were blubbing away’
      as pronoun ‘ half of them are gatecrashers’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At least half the audience walked out before the end, irritated and confused.’
      • ‘Typing without half the letters not appearing was going to be the highlight of my evening.’
      • ‘Adding even more to this was the fact that about half the audience were the actual people behind the film.’
      • ‘The performance was punctuated throughout with the clatter of seats as half the audience walked out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For a start, I can spend half the day answering phone calls, e-mails and letters.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Half of the products tested in this country had less than half the amount stated on the label.’
      • ‘After all those centuries, half the population has realised that it is completely naked under its clothes.’
      • ‘Three-and-a-half hours, and I think at least half of that was all that wonderful food.’
      • ‘Also in Saudi Arabia, women's testimonies in court are equal to half those of a man.’
      • ‘Twenty years ago the total debt of U.S. households was equal to half the size of the economy.’

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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1often in combination To a certain extent; partly.
      ‘the chicken is half-cooked’
      ‘I am half inclined to believe you’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In her half conscious state it was only barely that she heard a knock and the door opening.’
      • ‘Since Canon have half decent bits of glass, it was possible to quickly eliminate number three.’
      • ‘She sighed in a half frustrated and half nervous way, and Jason set a mug full of rum before her.’
      • ‘With the job half done, somewhere around the caves of Tora Bora, it got - what?’
      • ‘His understated celebrations said he knew the job was only half done.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A half decent story and a better script and it might have been fun.’
      • ‘His epilogue, half desperate, half triumphant, is one of the best I've heard.’
      • ‘Cleave is left facing a tragedy and having to come to terms with things failed and half done.’
      • ‘We just did that one song, a kinda R&B pop song with half French and half English lyrics.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Others prefer to eat them when they are still green or half ripe, when the acid taste predominates.’
      • ‘They are half afraid to open the door to the postman should he arrive with another registered letter.’
      • ‘Social criticism is still present, then, but it is half submerged in the dynamics of strong men in conflict.’
      • ‘Everitt half committed to entering the race next year with Bourassa as a partner.’
      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’
      • ‘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!’
    the half of it
    informal
    • usually with negative The most important part or aspect of something.

      ‘you don't know the half of it’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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…’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘When I said he had a big mouth, I didn't know the half of it.’
      • ‘So there goes the Junior Prom, but that's not the half of it.’
      • ‘But the truth is Lewis doesn't know the half of it.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Because they'd do it themselves, 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.’
    not do things by halves
    • Do things thoroughly or extravagantly.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ireland's wine drinkers don't do things by halves when they can do it by quarters.’
      • ‘They don't do things by halves - and that goes for showing their affection for each other too.’
      • ‘As ever in his life, McLuskey didn't do things by halves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Six bands, twenty three tracks and boy those Boss Tuneage dudes don't do things by halves.’
      • ‘He didn't do things by halves in his first win, taking pole, fastest lap and the chequers.’
    half past —
    • Thirty minutes after (a specified hour)

      ‘they arrived at about half-past three’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some of you might have noticed that some time around half past two yesterday afternoon this site disappeared.’
      • ‘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?’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    too — by half
    British
    • Used to emphasize something considered bad.

      ‘the idea seems too superstitious 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unhappily, it only reinforced my prejudices: that travel writers are too smug by half.’
      • ‘But that's getting too cute by half with the numbers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's too shrewd by half for you to now say no contracts were signed.’
    not half
    informal
    • 1Not at all; in no way.

      ‘the players are 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.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘This season a re-make of ‘The Night Stalker’ has begun to air on Thursday nights and it's not half bad.’
      • ‘You know, as a sampler of stuff, that's 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The fiction's not half bad, but it's the non-fiction that stands out.’
    • 2British To an extreme degree; very much so.

      ‘she didn't half flare up!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Anyway, it didn't half give me backache, pulling it.’

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

/hɑːf/