From Middle English hool (“healthy, unhurt, whole”), from Old English hāl (“healthy, safe”), from Proto-Germanic *hailaz (“whole, safe, sound”) (compare West Frisian hiel, Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish hel), from Proto-Indo-European *kóh₂ilus (“healthy, whole”) (compare Welsh coel (“omen”), Breton kel (“omen, mention”), Old Prussian kails (“healthy”), Albanian gjallë (“alive, unhurt”), Old Church Slavonic цѣлъ (cělŭ, “healthy, unhurt”). Related to hale, health, hail, and heal.
The spelling with wh-, introduced in the 15th century, was for disambiguation with hole.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /həʊl/, [həʊɫ], /hɒʊl/, [hɒʊɫ]
- (US) IPA(key): /hoʊl/, [hoʊɫ]
Audio (US) (file)
- Homophones: hole, uwole
- Rhymes: -əʊl
- I ate a whole fish.
- 1661, John Fell, The Life of the most learned, reverend and pious Dr. H. Hammond
- During the whole time of his abode in the university he generally spent thirteen hours of the day in study; by which assiduity besides an exact dispatch of the whole course of philosophy, he read over in a manner all classic authors that are extant […]
- 1893, Walter Besant, “Prologue”, in The Ivory Gate:
- Athelstan Arundel walked home all the way, foaming and raging. […] He walked the whole way, walking through crowds, and under the noses of dray-horses, carriage-horses, and cart-horses, without taking the least notice of them.
- 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 16, The Mirror and the Lamp:
- “[…] She takes the whole thing with desperate seriousness. But the others are all easy and jovial—thinking about the good fare that is soon to be eaten, about the hired fly, about anything.”
- 2013 June 29, “High and wet”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 28:
- Floods in northern India, mostly in the small state of Uttarakhand, have wrought disaster on an enormous scale. The early, intense onset of the monsoon on June 14th swelled rivers, washing away roads, bridges, hotels and even whole villages.
- Sound, uninjured, healthy.
- He is of whole mind, but the same cannot be said about his physical state.
- 1939, Alfred Edward Housman, Additional Poems, X, lines 5-6
- Here, with one balm for many fevers found, / Whole of an ancient evil, I sleep sound.
- (of food) From which none of its constituents has been removed.
- whole wheat; whole milk
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whole (plural wholes)