Definition of whole noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//həʊl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//hoʊl//
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  1. 1  [countable] a thing that is complete in itself Four quarters make a whole. The subjects of the curriculum form a coherent whole.
  2. 2  [singular] the whole of something all that there is of something The effects will last for the whole of his life. Grammar Pointhalf / whole / quarter Quarter, half and whole can all be nouns:Cut the apple into quarters. Two halves make a whole. Whole is also an adjective:I’ve been waiting here for a whole hour. Half is also a determiner:Half (of) the work is already finished. They spent half the time looking for a parking space. Her house is half a mile down the road. Note that you do not put a or the in front of half when it is used in this way:I waited for half an hour I waited for a half an hour. Half can also be used as an adverb:This meal is only half cooked.
  3. Word OriginOld English hāl, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch heel and German heil, also to the verb hail (senses 1-3). The spelling with wh- (reflecting a dialect pronunciation with w-) first appeared in the 15th cent.Extra examples At this age, babies do not yet combine sounds into a meaningful whole. He tried to fit the pieces of evidence together to make a coherent whole. She was struggling to organize her ideas into a coherent whole. Technology permeates the whole of our lives. The author examines each aspect of Roman society, then attempts to summarize the complex whole. The library takes up the whole of the first floor. The project involved the whole of the university. The text must be seen as part of a larger whole. Unemployment is higher in the north than in the country as a whole.Idioms  as one thing or piece and not as separate parts The festival will be great for our city and for the country as a whole.  considering everything; in general On the whole, I'm in favour of the idea.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: whole