Meaning of FULL in English

I. full 1 S1 W1 /fʊl/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Language: Old English ]

1 . NO SPACE containing as much or as many things or people as possible, so there is no space left ⇨ empty :

The train was completely full.

Don’t talk with your mouth full.

The class is full, but you can register for next term.

full of

The kitchen was full of smoke.

be crammed/stuffed/packed etc full of something

Ted’s workshop was crammed full of old engines.

half-full/three-quarters full etc

McQuaid filled his glass until it was three-quarters full.

The bath was full to the brim (=completely full) with hot water.

full (up) to bursting British English informal (=completely full)

The filing cabinet was full to bursting.


In everyday English, people often say that a place is packed when it is full of people:

The trains are always packed in the rush hour.

2 . INCLUDING EVERYTHING [only before noun] complete and including all parts or details:

Please write your full name and address on the form.

The Health Centre offers a full range of services.

Lotus will not reveal full details until the Motor Show.

The BBC promised a full investigation.

I don’t think he’s telling us the full story (=everything he knows about the matter) .

3 . HIGHEST AMOUNT/LEVEL [only before noun] the greatest amount or highest level of something that is possible SYN maximum :

rising prosperity and full employment

The charity helps disabled children reach their full potential.

Few customers take full advantage of off-peak fares.

Parker was driving at full speed when he hit the wall.

in full leaf/bloom

The roses were now in full bloom.

4 . HAVING A LOT OF SOMETHING be full of something

a) to contain many things of the same kind:

a garden full of flowers

His essay was full of mistakes.

The music papers were full of gossip about the band.

Life’s full of surprises, isn’t it?

b) to feel, express, or show a lot of a particular emotion or quality

full of excitement/energy/hope etc

Lucy was a happy child, always full of life.

He was full of praise for the work of the unit.

c) to talk or think a lot about a particular thing:

She was full of plans for the wedding.

5 . FOOD ( also full up British English ) [not before noun] having eaten so much food that you cannot eat any more:

No more, thanks. I’m full.

6 . EMPHASIS [only before noun] used to emphasize an amount, quantity, or rate

three/six etc full days/years/pages etc

We devote five full days a month to training.

His pants rose a full three inches off his shoes.

7 . BUSY busy and involving lots of different activities:

Before her illness, Rose enjoyed a full life.

Go to bed. You’ve a full day tomorrow.

8 . RANK having or giving all the rights, duties etc that belong to a particular rank or position

full professor/member/colonel etc

Only full members have the right to vote.

a full driving licence

9 . be full of yourself to have a high opinion of yourself – used to show disapproval:

My first impression was that he was a bit full of himself.

10 . be full of crap/shit/it not polite a rude expression used to say that someone often says things that are wrong or stupid:

Don’t listen to Jerry. He’s full of it.

11 . CLOTHES made using a lot of material and fitting loosely:

a dress with a full skirt

12 . BODY large and rounded in an attractive way

full figure/face/breasts etc

clothes for the fuller figure

13 . TASTE having a strong satisfying taste:

Now you can enjoy Nescafé's fuller flavour in a decaffeinated form.

⇨ ↑ full-bodied

14 . SOUND pleasantly loud and deep:

the rich full sound of the cello

15 . full price not a reduced price:

If you’re over 14, you have to pay full price.

16 . in full view of somebody so that all the people in a place can see, especially when this is embarrassing or shocking:

The argument happened on stage in full view of the audience.

17 . be in full swing if an event or process is in full swing, it has reached its highest level of activity:

By 8.30, the party was in full swing.

18 . full speed/steam ahead doing something with as much energy and effort as possible:

With last season’s misery behind them, it’s full steam ahead for the Bears.

19 . be full of beans to be excited and have lots of energy

20 . (at) full blast informal as strongly, loudly, or quickly as possible:

The heater was on full blast but I was still cold.

a car stereo playing Wagner at full blast

21 . (at) full tilt/pelt moving as fast as possible:

She ran full tilt into his arms.

22 . be in full cry if a group of people are in full cry, they are criticizing someone very strongly:

Anyone who’s seen the world’s press in full cry can understand how Diana felt.

23 . to the full ( also to the fullest American English ) in the best or most complete way:

Ed believes in living life to the full.

24 . come/go/turn full circle to be in the same situation in which you began, even though there have been changes during the time in between:

Fashion has come full circle and denim is back.

⇨ ↑ fully , ⇨ have your hands full at ↑ hand 1 (29), ⇨ draw yourself up to your full height at ↑ draw up (4)

• • •


▪ full containing as much or as many things or people as possible, so there is no space left:

The train was nearly full.


The cupboard was full of clothes.


He spilled a full cup of coffee on the carpet.

▪ filled with something full of something – use this about a container when a lot of things have been put into it:

The envelopes were filled with cash.

▪ stuffed full of something completely full of something – use this about a container when lots of things have been put into it, often in an untidy way:

The case was stuffed full of clothes.

▪ packed completely full of people – use this about a room, train etc:

a packed restaurant


The courtroom will be packed with journalists.

▪ bursting (with something) extremely full of something:

Her wardrobe was bursting with coats and shoes.


a small garden bursting with fruit and flowers

▪ crammed so full that you cannot fit anyone or anything else in – often used when you think there are too many people or things:

In summer, the hotels are crammed with tourists.


The resort’s crammed beaches are uncomfortable in summer.

▪ teeming (with something) /ˈtiːmɪŋ/ full of people, animals etc that are all moving around:

The rivers are teeming with fish.

▪ overflowing used about a container that is so full that the liquid or things inside it come out over the top:

an overflowing bathtub


The drawers were overflowing with magazines.

▪ overloaded used about a vehicle or a ship which has too many people or things in it:

an overloaded fishing boat


The trucks are often grossly overloaded (=far too overloaded) .

II. full 2 BrE AmE noun

in full including the whole of something:

The debt must be paid in full.

His statement on the handling of prisoners is worth quoting in full.

III. full 3 BrE AmE adverb


full on/in

She looked him full in the face as she spoke.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.