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Etymology 1[edit]

hole +‎ -on


holon (plural holons)

  1. (physics) One of three kinds of quasiparticle (the others being the spinon and orbiton) that electrons in solids are able to split into during the process of spin–charge separation, when extremely tightly confined at temperatures close to absolute zero.
    Synonym: chargon

Etymology 2[edit]

holo- +‎ -on, from Ancient Greek ὅλος (hólos, whole) with the suffix -on suggesting a part. Coined by Arthur Koestler in his 1967 book The Ghost in the Machine.



An individual is autonomous, but also part of a family, which is part of an extended family, which is part of a community, etc.

holon (plural holons)

  1. (philosophy) Something that is both a part and a whole.
    • 1995, Ken Wilber, “The Pattern That Connects”, in Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, Shambhala, →ISBN, Book One, pages 33–34:
      Before an atom is an atom, it is a holon. Before a cell is a cell, it is a holon. Before an idea is an idea, it is a holon. All of them are wholes that exist in other wholes, and thus they are all whole/parts, or holons, first and foremost (long before any “particular characteristics” are singled out by us).
Usage notes[edit]

Used primarily in philosophy (where the term originated), family therapy and in manufacturing.

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]




  1. Romanization of 𐌷𐍉𐌻𐍉𐌽