1 predeterminer, adjective (only before noun)
1 being half of an amount, time, distance, number etc: events that happened over half a century ago | Only half the guests had arrived by seven o'clock. | The studio is only half a block away. | half a mile/pound/hour etc (=half of a unit of measurement): half a pound of butter | It's about half a mile down the road. | a half hour/mile etc: You can't just waltz in a half hour late - we need you here on time.
2 if something is half one thing and half something else, it is a combination of those two things: A Minotaur is a monster that is half man, half bull.
3 half one/two/three etc BrE informal thirty minutes after the hour mentioned: I rang at about half six.
4 half a dozen
a) six: half a dozen eggs
b) several or many: The children seemed to be singing `Happy Birthday' to half a dozen different tunes.
5 be half the battle spoken used to say that when you have done the most difficult part of an activity, the rest is easy: Getting Jimmy dressed in the mornings is half the battle.
6 half the fun/time/trouble etc the largest part of something: Half the trouble with John is that he never really listens to what you say. | Kids seem to think that climbing up a slide is half the fun.
7 half a minute/moment/second etc spoken a very short time: Hold on, this will only take half a second.
8 have half a mind to do sth spoken
a) to say that you would like to do something but you probably will not do it, especially when you want to show your disapproval of what someone has done: I have half a mind to tell him what an idiot he is.
b) used as a not very serious threat to show your disapproval of what someone has done: I have half a mind to tell your mother about this.
9 only half the story an explanation that is not complete, used especially to say that someone is trying to keep something secret: Journalists are convinced that the Congressman was only telling them half the story.
10 half measures actions or methods that are not effective in dealing with a difficult problem: The opposition accused the government of being satisfied with half measures.
11 go off at half cock/half cocked to happen without enough preparation being done, with the result that it is not successful
2 noun, pronoun plural halves (C)
1 50% either of the two equal parts into which something is divided or can be divided; ¼: Half of 50 is 25. | An hour and a half later I was still waiting for him to arrive. | “How old is Samantha now?” “She's five and a half.” | The trade figures improved in the second half of last year. | Half of the class was working on math problems while the other half divided into reading groups. | Scott gave her a piece of chocolate and kept the other half for himself. | reduce/cut sth by half (=make something 50% smaller): The new policy could cut the world oil production by half. | break/cut sth in half (=cut something into two equal parts): He cut the cake in half.
2 NUMBER the number ¼: Three halves make 1¼.
3 half past especially BrE thirty minutes after the hour mentioned: half past one/two/three etc: Bill came home about half past one. | She said she'd be home by six or half past.
4 SPORTS EVENT either of the two parts into which a sports event is divided: The Minnesota Vikings pulled ahead to win by seven points in the second half.
5 FOOTBALL ETC a player who plays in the middle part of the field
6 BEER BrE a half of a pint of beer: Fancy a quick half down the pub? | two halves of bitter
7 TICKET BrE a child's ticket, for example on a bus or train, that is cheaper than an adult's ticket: One and a half to Waterloo, please.
8 and a half informal used when you think that something is very unusual or surprising, or very good: That was a meal and a half!
9 your better half/other half humorous your husband or wife: Let me introduce you to my better half.
10 not do sth by halves to do something very eagerly and using a lot of care and effort: I'm sure it will be a fantastic wedding. Eva never does anything by halves.
11 you don't know the half of it spoken used to emphasize that a situation is more difficult, complicated, or unpleasant than people realize: “I know it was a dreadful time, just after the war.” “ You don't know the half of it.”
12 go halves (on sth) to share something, especially the cost of something, equally between two people: Do you want to go halves on a pizza?
13 how the other half lives how people who are much richer or much poorer than you manage their lives, work, money etc: He's working for a millionaire, so he's getting a taste of how the other half lives.
14 too clever/rich/virtuous etc by half BrE informal clever, rich etc in an annoying way: That boy's too arrogant by half.
3 adverb
1 partly, but not completely: I was half in love with her by the end of the evening. | She was standing there half-dressed, putting on her makeup in front of the mirror. | He seemed to half expect her to come back and apologize. | half-finished/half-empty/half full: Cups of half-finished tea were on the floor beside the bed.
2 used to emphasize something, especially when a situation is extremely bad: I had been driven half out of my mind with worry. | The kitten looked half starved.
3 half as much/big etc again larger by an amount that is equal to half the original size: Roy invested his savings in a new store that was half as big again as the old one.
4 not half as good/interesting etc (as) much less good, less interesting etc than someone or something else: The movie wasn't half as entertaining as the book. | She can't love you half as much as I do.
5 not half BrE spoken used when you want to emphasize an opinion or statement: She doesn't half talk once she gets started. | “Did you enjoy it, then?” “Not half!”
6 not half bad an expression meaning good, used especially when you are rather surprised that something is good: Actually, the party wasn't half bad.
7 half and half partly one thing and partly another: “What is she, then, a psychiatrist or a social worker?” “Sort of half and half.”

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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  • half — [ hæf ] (plural halves [ hævz ] ) function word, quantifier *** 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… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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