Meaning of HALF in English

I. ˈha]f, haa(ə)], hai], hȧ], hä]; in sense 2b the f is often lost when “past” follows noun

( plural halves ]vz)

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English healf; akin to Old High German & Gothic halba side, half, Old Norse halfa, Latin scalpere to cut, scratch, Greek skalops mole (animal), Old English sciell shell — more at shell

1. obsolete : part , side


a. : one of two equal parts into which a thing is divisible

half of it

half of the profits

also : a part of a thing approximately equal to the remainder

the larger half of the fortune

: a sizable portion

the bottom half of the social pyramid — N.E.Eliason

— often used without of especially when a quantitative world follows

half the money

b. : half an hour — used in designation of time

half past ten

half after five

3. : one of a pair: as

a. : partner

b. : semester , term


(1) : one of the two playing periods usually separated by an interval that together make up the playing time of certain games (as football) — see quarter 21b

(2) : the turn of one team to bat in baseball

first half of the eighth inning


a. : half crown

b. : half-dollar

5. : significant part : crux , whole — used with a negative

that's not the half of it


[by shortening]

: halfback

7. : half time

- and a half

- by half

- by halves

- half a mind

- in half

II. adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English healf; akin to Old High German halb half, Old Norse halfr, Gothic halbs, Old English healf, n.


a. : being one of two equal parts

a half share

a half sheet of paper


(1) : amounting to nearly half : approximately a half

(2) : partial , imperfect

half knowledge of a subject


a. : reaching only half the normal distance

a half gunshot away

b. : extending or covering only half (as of the regular or normal area)

a half window

a half mask

c. : covering the backbone and one quarter of the boards away from the backbone and sometimes the corners

a book bound in half leather

a half -vellum binding

— compare full 12c

d. : part-time

working only half days

half shift

3. chiefly dialect Britain : of a species of small size — used of birds and sometimes of fish

III. adverb

Etymology: Middle English, from half, adjective


a. : in an equal part or degree

b. : only partially : not completely : imperfectly

half digested

half persuaded


a. : at all : really — used with a negative

a performance that wasn't half bad

b. — used with a negative and before a verb to imply the opposite of what is expressed

didn't half beat up the policeman


a. : by half an hour less

half ten o'clock

— used chiefly in Scotland and Ireland

b. — used before a numeral in designating soundings to add one half to the numeral

half six fathoms

c. — used in the nomenclature of points of the compass between the names of two points to designate a position or direction half a point from the first compass point in the direction of the second

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.