Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One of two equal parts that together constitute a whole.
  • noun One part approximately equal to the remaining part.
  • noun Informal A 50-cent piece.
  • noun One of the two playing periods into which certain games are divided.
  • noun A halfback.
  • noun Chiefly British A school term; a semester.
  • noun Half an hour.
  • adjective Being one of two equal parts.
  • adjective Being approximately a half.
  • adjective Partial or incomplete.
  • adverb To the extent of exactly or nearly 50 percent.
  • adverb Not completely or sufficiently; partly.
  • idiom (by half) By a considerable extent.
  • idiom (by half) By an excessive amount.
  • idiom (by halves) In a reluctant manner; unenthusiastically.
  • idiom (many/much) One-and-a-half times as much or as many; 50 percent more.
  • idiom (in half) Into halves.
  • idiom (not half) Not at all.
  • idiom (not the half of) Only a fraction or a small part of.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In an equal part or degree; by half; hence, in part; to some extent: much used in composition, and often indefinite: as, half-baked; half-dead; half-educated; half-starved.
  • An erroneous form of haft.
  • To divide into halves; halve; hence, loosely, to separate into parts of any relative size.
  • Being one of two equal parts; consisting of a moiety: as, a half share in an enterprise; a half ticket in a lottery.
  • noun A side; a part.
  • noun Part; behalf; account; sake.
  • noun One of two equal parts of anything that is divisible, or that may be regarded as divisible; a moiety: usually not followed by of unless preceded by a qualifying word: as, half the miseries or pleasures of life; half a pound; half an orange; the half, one half, or the other half of an orange.
  • noun Among schoolboys in England, a session; the term between vacations: a contraction of half-year. Sometimes there are three “halves” in the year.
  • noun In foot-ball, a half-back. See back, n., 12.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adverb In an equal part or degree; in some part approximating a half; partially; imperfectly.
  • adjective Consisting of a moiety, or half
  • adjective Consisting of some indefinite portion resembling a half; approximately a half, whether more or less; partial; imperfect
  • adjective (Zoöl.) a lemur.
  • adjective (Football) See under 2d Back.
  • adjective the first notch, for the sear point to enter, in the tumbler of a gunlock; the halfcock notch.
  • adjective a style of bookbinding in which only the back and corners are in leather.
  • adjective one who boards in part; specifically, a scholar at a boarding school who takes dinner only.
  • adjective (Shipbuilding) a horizontal plan of one half a vessel, divided lengthwise, showing the lines.
  • adjective (Mus.) a cadence on the dominant.
  • adjective [Obs.] a slight salute with the cap.
  • adjective the position of the cock of a gun when retained by the first notch.
  • adjective a sailor's knot in a rope; half of a clove hitch.
  • adjective short stockings; socks.
  • adjective an imperfect or weak line of action.
  • adjective (Mus.) a minim, one half of a semibreve.
  • adjective half of the wages or salary; reduced pay; as, an officer on half pay.
  • adjective half the ordinary price; or a price much reduced.
  • adjective (Arch.), (Mech.) Having one side flat and the other rounded; -- said of a file.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English healf.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English healf ('half'); as a noun, 'half', 'side', 'part'; akin to Old Saxon, Old Friesian, and Dutch half, German halb, Swedish half, Danish halv, Icelandic hálfur and Gothic 𐌷𐌰𐌻𐌱𐍃 (halbs). Compare halve, behalf.

Examples

  • Yes Fr Guy's leaving his up until the Baptism of Our Lord..ours are half up..half down!

    Epiphany...

  • 'Only half so good, Mr. Kirke,' rejoined the black, showing a set of teeth which a dentist might have used for a door plate; 'only _half_ so good,' case I'se only half white.

    The Continental Monthly, Vol. 3 No 2, February 1863 Devoted To Literature And National Policy

  • What say you, then, to the fact, that whilst the outer half is devoted to an advertisement of Mr Reprint's imitative publications, the _better half_ contains a bold and faithful warning against such piracy!

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 62, No. 384, October 1847

  • At the end of the three and a half years (_half_ of the covenant time) he orders the Sacrifice to cease in the Temple at

    The Mark of the Beast

  • I mind one super-tunic she gave me, but half worn, "-- this was said impressively, for a garment only _half worn_ was considered a fit gift from one peeress to another --" of blue damask, all set with silver buttons, and broidered with ladies 'heads along the border.

    A Forgotten Hero Not for Him

  • Thus when we consider the unexplored basilar and interior regions, and that half of its exterior surface which was erroneously appropriated to the thirty-five organs, as well as the erroneous location of several, we perceive that _more than half_ of the organs and functions of the brain remained for investigation.

    Buchanan's Journal of Man, October 1887 Volume 1, Number 9

  • If I had a financial institute and was able to borrow £10 Billion from the B O E at a half% interest and then loaned half to another bank at say 5. 5% and the other half to Business customers at say 14% over a 12 month period how much profit would I make?

    Army Rumour Service

  • Half our heart is here, half there; our need and ache are severed from their help and answer; the tender blue waits far off for the eager, asking red; yet just as surely as His light shines on, and our life moves under it, so surely, across whatever gulf, the beauty shall all be one again; so surely does it even now move all together, perfect and close always under His eye, who never sends a _half_ ray anywhere.

    Real Folks

  • The owners of the hackeries were expected to purchase bhoosa and other fodder for their bullocks at the market price; but they took what they required without payment, in _collusion with_ the officers under whom they were employed, or in _spite_ of them; and the Oude Government in 1845 cut the allowance down to seventeen rupees and half, out of which _three rupees and half_ are cut for perquisites, leaving fourteen rupees for the hackeries: and their owners and drivers have the free privilege of helping themselves to bhoosa and other fodder wherever they can find them.

    A Journey through the Kingdom of Oude, Volumes I & II

  • And you'll let me have tea for them, -- just bread and butter and a bun, -- it will cost not half as much as my new dress this week, not _half_ as much -- "

    The Unclassed

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  • April 12, 2009