on the whole

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Alternative forms[edit]


  • (file)

Prepositional phrase[edit]

on the whole

  1. (idiomatic) For the most part; apart from some insignificant details.
    The language was wrong for the period, but, on the whole, I enjoyed the film.
    • 1849, Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Monday:
      Davis had a ball lodged in his body, and his right hand shot off; but on the whole, he seems to have been less damaged than his companion.
    • 1910, E. M. Forster, chapter 5, in Howards End:
      [H]is class was near enough her own for its manners to vex her. But she found him interesting on the whole.
    • 2012 January 18, Simon Shuster, “The Anti-Putin Movement: An Interview with the Blogger in Chief”, in Time, retrieved 18 August 2013:
      Both Maidan and Tahrir were peaceful. Maidan was absolutely peaceful, Tahrir saw some unrest but was still peaceful on the whole.