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The Devil's Dictionary:    

Definition of Half

  HALF   noun
One of two equal parts into which a thing may be divided, or considered as divided.  In the fourteenth century a heated discussion arose among theologists and philosophers as to whether Omniscience could part an object into three halves; and the pious Father Aldrovinus publicly prayed in the cathedral at Rouen that God would demonstrate the affirmative of the proposition in some signal and unmistakable way, and particularly (if it should please Him) upon the body of that hardy blasphemer, Manutius Procinus, who maintained the negative.  Procinus, however, was spared to die of the bite of a viper.

Devil's Dictionarydefinition from:
The Devil's Dictionary
by Ambrose Bierce, 1911

Regular definition:
h?:f n., adj., & adv. --n. (pl. halves) 1 either of two equal or corresponding parts or groups into which a thing is or might be divided. 2 colloq. = half-back. 3 colloq. half a pint, esp. of beer etc. 4 either of two equal periods of play in sports. 5 colloq. a half-price fare or ticket, esp. for a child. 6 Golf a score that is the same as one's opponent's. --adj. 1 of an amount or quantity equal to a half, or loosely to a part thought of as roughly a half (take half the men; spent half the time reading; half a pint; a half-pint; half-price). 2 forming a half (a half share). --adv. 1 (often in comb.) to the extent of half; partly (only half cooked; half-frozen; half-laughing). 2 to a certain extent; somewhat (esp. in idiomatic phrases: half dead; am half inclined to agree). 3 (in reckoning time) by the amount of half (an hour etc.) (half past two). řat half cock see COCK(1). by half (prec. by too + adj.) excessively (too clever by half). by halves imperfectly or incompletely (never does things by halves). half-and-half being half one thing and half another. half-back (in some sports) a player between the forwards and full backs. half-baked 1 incompletely considered or planned. 2 (of enthusiasm etc.) only partly committed. 3 foolish. half the battle see BATTLE. half-beak any fish of the family Hemirhamphidae with the lower jaw projecting beyond the upper. half-binding a type of bookbinding in which the spine and corners are bound in one material (usu. leather) and the sides in another. half-blood 1 a person having one parent in common with another. 2 this relationship. 3 = half-breed. half-blooded born from parents of different races. half-blue Brit. 1 a person who has represented a university, esp. Oxford or Cambridge, in a sport but who has not received a full blue. 2 this distinction (see BLUE(1) n. 3). half board provision of bed, breakfast, and one main meal at a hotel etc. half-boot a boot reaching up to the calf. half-breed often offens. a person of mixed race. half-brother a brother with only one parent in common. half-caste often offens. n. a person whose parents are of different races, esp. the offspring of a European father and an Indian mother. --adj. of or relating to such a person. half a chance colloq. the slightest opportunity (esp. given half a chance). half-crown (or half a crown) (in the UK) a former coin and monetary unit worth 2s. 6d. (12Ěp). half-cut Brit. sl. fairly drunk. half-deck the quarters of cadets and apprentices on a merchant vessel. half-dozen (or half a dozen) colloq. six, or about six. half-duplex see DUPLEX. half an eye the slightest degree of perceptiveness. half-hardy (of a plant) able to grow in the open air at all times except in severe frost. half hitch a noose or knot formed by passing the end of a rope round its standing part and then through the loop. half holiday a day of which half (usu. the afternoon) is taken as a holiday. half-hour 1 (also half an hour) a period of 30 minutes. 2 a point of time 30 minutes after any hour o'clock. half-hourly at intervals of 30 minutes. half-hunter a watch with a hinged cover in which a small opening allows identification of the approximate position of the hands. half-inch n. a unit of length half as large as an inch. --v.tr. rhymingsl. steal (= pinch). half-integral equal to half an odd integer. half-landing a landing part of the way up a flight of stairs, whose length is twice the width of the flight plus the width of the well. half-lap the joining of rails, shafts, etc., by halving the thickness of each at one end and fitting them together. half-length a canvas depicting a half-length portrait. half-life Physics & Biochem. etc. the time taken for the radioactivity or some other property of a substance to fall to half its original value. half-light a dim imperfect light. half-mast the position of a flag halfway down the mast, as a mark of respect for a person who has died. half measures an unsatisfactory compromise or inadequate policy. half a mind see MIND. half moon 1 the moon when only half its illuminated surface is visible from earth. 2 the time when this occurs. 3 a semicircular object. half nelson Wrestling see NELSON. half-note esp. US Mus. = MINIM 1. the half of it colloq. the rest or more important part of something (usu. after neg.: you don't know the half of it). half pay reduced income, esp. on retirement. half-pie NZ sl. imperfect, mediocre. half-plate 1 a photographic plate 16.5 by 10.8 cm. 2 a photograph reproduced from this. half-seas-over Brit. sl. partly drunk. half-sister a sister with only one parent in common. half-sole the sole of a boot or shoe from the shank to the toe. half-sovereign a former British gold coin and monetary unit worth ten shillings (50p). half-step Mus. a semitone. half-term Brit. a period about halfway through a school term, when a short holiday is usually taken. half-timbered Archit. having walls with a timber frame and a brick or plaster filling. half-time 1 the time at which half of a game or contest is completed. 2 a short interval occurring at this time. half the time see TIME. half-title 1 the title or short title of a book, printed on the recto of the leaf preceding the title-page. 2 the title of a section of a book printed on the recto of the leaf preceding it. half-tone 1 a reproduction printed from a block (produced by photographic means) in which the various tones of grey are produced from small and large black dots. 2 US Mus. a semitone. half-track 1 a propulsion system for land vehicles with wheels at the front and an endless driven belt at the back. 2 a vehicle equipped with this. half-truth a statement that (esp. deliberately) conveys only part of the truth. half-volley (pl. -eys) (in ball games) the playing of a ball as soon as it bounces off the ground. half-yearly at intervals of six months. not half 1 not nearly (not half long enough). 2 colloq. not at all (not half bad). 3 Brit. sl. to an extreme degree (he didn't half get angry). [OE half, healf f. Gmc, orig. = 'side']

Last updated: 9/3/2011 12:48:30