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half - definition and synonyms

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adjective, adverb, noun, number, predeterminer, pronoun     half pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
Half can be used in the following ways:
as a predeterminer (followed by a word such as “a,” “the,” “this,” or “his”): We live half a mile up the road.I have to spend half my time taking care of the children.
as a pronoun: Let’s share the prize money. You can have half. (followed by “of”): 48 is half of 96.Half of us are still unemployed. (following “in” or “by”): Cut the apple in half.The crime rate has been reduced by half.
as an adjective (followed by a noun): We ordered a half bottle of red wine.They sold 250 tickets in the first half hour.
as an adverb (followed by an adjective, adverb, or preposition): I was only half awake.She spoke half in Italian and half in English. (followed by a verb or participle): I only half understood what she was saying.a half finished building (followed by “as”): A nurse only earns half as much as a doctor.
as a countable noun: The group was divided into two halves.Our team scored 36 points in the second half.
as a number: Emma was talking well by the age of two and a half.
  1. 1
    ½ or 50%
    1. a.
      used for referring to one of two equal parts into which an amount, group, or object can be divided

      The rebel army now controls over half the country.

      The students spend half their time on practical work.

      half of:

      Prices rose by over 15% during the second half of 1988.

      Would anyone like the other half of my pizza?

      When we interviewed employees, nearly half of them complained of stress.

      divide/cut/split etc. something in half:

      Peel the potatoes and cut them in half.

    2. b.
      used in numbers, measurements, and ages to mean ½

      One and a half million people have been driven from their homes.

      Jasmine started school when she was four and a half.

      half an hour/a mile etc.:

      We had to wait half an hour for a bus.

      half hour/mile etc.:

      She walked the half mile from Wall Street back to her office.

      half a dozen/a half dozen (=six):

      half a dozen eggs

    3. c.
      used for saying that someone or something is made up of 50% of one thing and 50% of something else
      half something (and) half something:

      The fabric is half nylon, half cotton.

      The fearsome creature was half man and half beast.

      Marie is half Vietnamese, half French (=one of her parents is from Vietnam, the other is from France).

      half and half (=50% of each):

      There used to be a lot more men than women in the medical school, but now it’s about half and half.

  2. 2
    used for saying that something happens partly but not completely, or that something is partly in a particular state

    Through the half open door I could hear the sound of Alan’s voice.

    The rocks were half under water.

    I only half understood the instructions.


    a half-empty milk bottle

  3. 3
    used for emphasizing how bad or extreme a situation is

    Your mother’s been going half crazy worrying about you.

    I seem to spend half my life cleaning up after those kids.

  4. 4
    one of the two equal periods of time into which a game of football, basketball, hockey, etc. is divided

    Neither team scored in the first half.

  5. 5
    British mainly spoken half a pint of a drink, especially beer
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