a. Containing all components; complete: the whole series of novels.
b. Not divided or disjoined; in one unit: a whole loaf.
c. Constituting the full amount, extent, or duration: The baby cried the whole trip home.
a. Not wounded, injured, or impaired; sound or unhurt: Many escaped the fire frightened but whole.
b. Having been restored; healed: After the treatment he felt whole.
3. Having the same parents: a whole sister.
1. A number, group, set, or thing lacking no part or element; a complete thing.
2. An entity or system made up of interrelated parts: The value of the whole was greater than the sum of its parts.
Entirely; wholly: a whole new idea.
as a whole
All parts or aspects considered; altogether: disliked the acting but enjoyed the play as a whole.
on the whole
1. Considering everything: on the whole, a happy marriage.
2. In most instances or cases; as a rule: can expect sunny weather, on the whole.
[Middle English hole, unharmed, from Old English hāl; see kailo- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: whole, all, entire, gross, total
These adjectives mean including every constituent or individual: a whole town devastated by an earthquake; all the class going on a field trip; entire shipments lost by the distributor; gross income; the total cost of the project.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.