- n., adj., & adv.
—n. (pl. halves)
1 either of two equal or corresponding parts or groups into which a thing is or might be divided.
2 colloq. = half-back.
3 colloq. half a pint, esp. of beer etc.
4 either of two equal periods of play in sports.
5 colloq. a half-price fare or ticket, esp. for a child.
6 Golf a score that is the same as one's opponent's.
1 of an amount or quantity equal to a half, or loosely to a part thought of as roughly a half (take half the men; spent half the time reading; half a pint; a half-pint; half-price).
2 forming a half (a half share).
1 (often in comb.) to the extent of half; partly (only half cooked; half-frozen; half-laughing).
2 to a certain extent; somewhat (esp. in idiomatic phrases: half dead; am half inclined to agree).
3 (in reckoning time) by the amount of half (an hour etc.) (half past two).
Phrases and idioms:
at half cock see COCK(1). by half (prec. by too + adj.) excessively (too clever by half). by halves imperfectly or incompletely (never does things by halves). half-and-half being half one thing and half another. half-back (in some sports) a player between the forwards and full backs. half-baked
1 incompletely considered or planned.
2 (of enthusiasm etc.) only partly committed.
3 foolish. half the battle see BATTLE. half-beak any fish of the family Hemirhamphidae with the lower jaw projecting beyond the upper. half-binding a type of bookbinding in which the spine and corners are bound in one material (usu. leather) and the sides in another.
1 a person having one parent in common with another.
2 this relationship.
3 = half-breed. half-blooded born from parents of different races.
1 a person who has represented a university, esp. Oxford or Cambridge, in a sport but who has not received a full blue.
2 this distinction (see BLUE(1) n. 3). half board provision of bed, breakfast, and one main meal at a hotel etc. half-boot a boot reaching up to the calf. half-breed often offens. a person of mixed race. half-brother a brother with only one parent in common. half-caste often offens. n. a person whose parents are of different races, esp. the offspring of a European father and an Indian mother.
—adj. of or relating to such a person. half a chance colloq. the slightest opportunity (esp. given half a chance). half-crown (or half a crown) (in the UK) a former coin and monetary unit worth 2s. 6d. (121/2p). half-cut Brit. sl. fairly drunk. half-deck the quarters of cadets and apprentices on a merchant vessel. half-dozen (or half a dozen) colloq. six, or about six. half-duplex see DUPLEX. half an eye the slightest degree of perceptiveness. half-hardy (of a plant) able to grow in the open air at all times except in severe frost. half hitch a noose or knot formed by passing the end of a rope round its standing part and then through the loop. half holiday a day of which half (usu. the afternoon) is taken as a holiday. half-hour
1 (also half an hour) a period of 30 minutes.
2 a point of time 30 minutes after any hour o'clock. half-hourly at intervals of 30 minutes. half-hunter a watch with a hinged cover in which a small opening allows identification of the approximate position of the hands. half-inch n. a unit of length half as large as an inch.
—v.tr. rhymingsl. steal (= pinch). half-integral equal to half an odd integer. half-landing a landing part of the way up a flight of stairs, whose length is twice the width of the flight plus the width of the well. half-lap the joining of rails, shafts, etc., by halving the thickness of each at one end and fitting them together. half-length a canvas depicting a half-length portrait. half-life Physics & Biochem. etc. the time taken for the radioactivity or some other property of a substance to fall to half its original value. half-light a dim imperfect light. half-mast the position of a flag halfway down the mast, as a mark of respect for a person who has died. half measures an unsatisfactory compromise or inadequate policy. half a mind see MIND. half moon
1 the moon when only half its illuminated surface is visible from earth.
2 the time when this occurs.
3 a semicircular object. half nelson Wrestling see NELSON. half-note esp. US Mus. = MINIM 1. the half of it colloq. the rest or more important part of something (usu. after neg.: you don't know the half of it). half pay reduced income, esp. on retirement. half-pie NZ sl. imperfect, mediocre.
1 a photographic plate 16.5 by 10.8 cm.
2 a photograph reproduced from this. half-seas-over Brit. sl. partly drunk. half-sister a sister with only one parent in common. half-sole the sole of a boot or shoe from the shank to the toe. half-sovereign a former British gold coin and monetary unit worth ten shillings (50p). half-step Mus. a semitone. half-term Brit. a period about halfway through a school term, when a short holiday is usually taken. half-timbered Archit. having walls with a timber frame and a brick or plaster filling.
1 the time at which half of a game or contest is completed.
2 a short interval occurring at this time. half the time see TIME.
1 the title or short title of a book, printed on the recto of the leaf preceding the title-page.
2 the title of a section of a book printed on the recto of the leaf preceding it.
1 a reproduction printed from a block (produced by photographic means) in which the various tones of grey are produced from small and large black dots.
2 US Mus. a semitone.
1 a propulsion system for land vehicles with wheels at the front and an endless driven belt at the back.
2 a vehicle equipped with this. half-truth a statement that (esp. deliberately) conveys only part of the truth. half-volley (pl. -eys) (in ball games) the playing of a ball as soon as it bounces off the ground. half-yearly at intervals of six months.
1 not nearly (not half long enough).
2 colloq. not at all (not half bad).
3 Brit. sl. to an extreme degree (he didn't half get angry).
Etymology: OE half, healf f. Gmc, orig. = 'side'
Useful english dictionary. 2012.