better half

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Ultimately from such Latin poetic phrases as animae dimidium meae "half of my soul" (Horace writing about Virgil), when it instead referred to a close friend (compare: soulmate). First written instance of it meaning "spouse" was in 1580 by Sir Philip Sidney.


better half (plural better halves)

  1. (idiomatic) A person's spouse or lover, most commonly a man's wife. Generally jocular, but may be complimentary or as a sign of respect.
My deare, my better halfe (sayd hee) I find I must now leave thee.
  • My better half is mad at me again.
  1. (idiomatic, archaic) A very close friend or companion