American English

Definition of whole adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[only before noun] full; complete He spent the whole day writing. We drank a whole bottle each. The whole country (= all the people in it) mourned her death. Let's forget the whole thing. She wasn't telling the whole truth.
  2. 2[only before noun] used to emphasize how large or important something is We offer a whole variety of weekend breaks. I can't afford it—that's the whole point.
  3. 3not broken or damaged synonym (all) in one piece Owls usually swallow their prey whole (= without chewing it). Grammarhalf / whole / quarterQuarter, 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.
    noun [uncountable] see also wholly
  5. Idioms
    a whole lot (informal)
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    very much; a lot I'm feeling a whole lot better.
    a whole lot (of something) (informal)
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    a large number or amount There were a whole lot of people I didn't know. I lost a whole lot of money.
    the whole lot
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    everything; all of something I've sold the whole lot.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: whole