American English

Definition of whole noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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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. 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.
  3. 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.
    on the whole
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    considering everything; in general On the whole, I'm in favor of the idea.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: whole