The History of “Whole”

Health leads to whole: OP (Old Prussian) kailustikan, health, Gr (Greek) koilu, the beautiful.

–Partridge’s Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English

What does whole mean?

Definitions for whole (hoʊl)

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word whole.

Princeton’s WordNet:

  1. whole(noun)all of something including all its component elements or parts”Europe considered as a whole”; “the whole of American literature”
  2. whole, unit(adj)an assemblage of parts that is regarded as a single entity”how big is that part compared to the whole?”; “the team is a unit”
  3. whole(adj)including all components without exception; being one unit or constituting the full amount or extent or duration; complete”gave his whole attention”; “a whole wardrobe for the tropics”; “the whole hog”; “a whole week”; “the baby cried the whole trip home”; “a whole loaf of bread”
  4. whole(adj)(of siblings) having the same parents”whole brothers and sisters”
  5. unharmed, unhurt, unscathed, whole(adj)not injured
  6. hale, whole(adj)exhibiting or restored to vigorous good health”hale and hearty”; “whole in mind and body”; “a whole person again”
  7. solid, unanimous, whole(adverb)acting together as a single undiversified whole”a solid voting bloc”
  8. wholly, entirely, completely, totally, all, altogether, whole(adverb)to a complete degree or to the full or entire extent (`whole’ is often used informally for `wholly’)”he was wholly convinced”; “entirely satisfied with the meal”; “it was completely different from what we expected”; “was completely at fault”; “a totally new situation”; “the directions were all wrong”; “it was not altogether her fault”; “an altogether new approach”; “a whole new idea”

Wiktionary:

  1. whole(Noun)Something complete, without any parts missing.Etymology: From hool, from hal, from hailaz (compare Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish hel), from kóhₐilus, coel ‘omen’, Breton kel ‘omen, mention’, Old Prussian kails ‘healthy’, Albanian gjallë ‘alive, unhurt’, Old Church Slavonic cĕlŭ ‘healthy, unhurt’, Ancient Greek koîlu ‘good’). Related to hale, health, and heal.
  2. whole(Noun)An entirety.Etymology: From hool, from hal, from hailaz (compare Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish hel), from kóhₐilus, coel ‘omen’, Breton kel ‘omen, mention’, Old Prussian kails ‘healthy’, Albanian gjallë ‘alive, unhurt’, Old Church Slavonic cĕlŭ ‘healthy, unhurt’, Ancient Greek koîlu ‘good’). Related to hale, health, and heal.
  3. whole(Adverb)in entirety; entirely; whollyI ate a fish whole!Etymology: From hool, from hal, from hailaz (compare Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish hel), from kóhₐilus, coel ‘omen’, Breton kel ‘omen, mention’, Old Prussian kails ‘healthy’, Albanian gjallë ‘alive, unhurt’, Old Church Slavonic cĕlŭ ‘healthy, unhurt’, Ancient Greek koîlu ‘good’). Related to hale, health, and heal.
  4. whole(Adjective)entire.I ate a whole fish.Etymology: From hool, from hal, from hailaz (compare Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish hel), from kóhₐilus, coel ‘omen’, Breton kel ‘omen, mention’, Old Prussian kails ‘healthy’, Albanian gjallë ‘alive, unhurt’, Old Church Slavonic cĕlŭ ‘healthy, unhurt’, Ancient Greek koîlu ‘good’). Related to hale, health, and heal.
  5. whole(Adjective)sound, uninjured, healthy.He is of whole mind, but the same cannot be said about his physical state.Etymology: From hool, from hal, from hailaz (compare Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish hel), from kóhₐilus, coel ‘omen’, Breton kel ‘omen, mention’, Old Prussian kails ‘healthy’, Albanian gjallë ‘alive, unhurt’, Old Church Slavonic cĕlŭ ‘healthy, unhurt’, Ancient Greek koîlu ‘good’). Related to hale, health, and heal.

Webster Dictionary:

  1. Whole(adj)containing the total amount, number, etc.; comprising all the parts; free from deficiency; all; total; entire; as, the whole earth; the whole solar system; the whole army; the whole nation
  2. Whole(adj)complete; entire; not defective or imperfect; not broken or fractured; unimpaired; uninjured; integral; as, a whole orange; the egg is whole; the vessel is whole
  3. Whole(adj)possessing, or being in a state of, heath and soundness; healthy; sound; well
  4. Whole(noun)the entire thing; the entire assemblage of parts; totality; all of a thing, without defect or exception; a thing complete in itself
  5. Whole(noun)a regular combination of parts; a system

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary:

  1. Wholehōl, adj. sound, as in health (so in B.): unimpaired: containing the total amount, number, &c.: all: not defective: complete: in mining, as yet unworked.—n. the entire thing: a system or combination of parts.—adv. wholly.—adjs. Whole′-col′oured, all of one colour; Whole′-foot′ed (coll.) unreserved; Whole′-heart′ed-souled, noble: hearty, generous; Whole′-hoofed, having undivided hoof; Whole′-length, giving the whole figure, as a portrait: full-length.—n. a portrait or statue giving the whole figure.—ns. Whole′nessWhole′sāle, sale of goods by the whole piece or large quantity.—adj. buying and selling in large quantities: extensive.—n. Whole′sāler, one who sells by wholesale.—adjs. Whole′-skinned, having an unbroken skin: unhurt: safe in reputation; Whole′some, healthy: sound: salutary: (Shak.) prosperous.—adv. Whole′somely.—ns. Whole′somenessWhole′-stitch, a lace-making stitch used in filling.—adv. Wholly (hō′li), completely, altogether.—n. Wholth, wholeness, soundness.—Whole number, a unit, or a number composed of units, an integral number.—UponOnthe whole, generally speaking, to sum up.—With whole skin, safe, unscathed. [A.S. hál, healthy; Ice. heill, Ger. heil. By-form hale (1).]

Editors Contribution:

  1. wholeHaving the complete element or facet.The whole business is represented at the management meeting and it is so clear teamwork and unity makes the plan work.Submitted by MaryC on February 9, 2020  

(Courtesy of Hanz Bolen, H.W., M., and definitions.net)

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