by halves

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 (hăf, häf)
n. pl. halves (hăvz, hävz)
a. One of two equal parts that together constitute a whole.
b. One part approximately equal to the remaining part.
2. Informal A 50-cent piece.
3. Sports
a. One of the two playing periods into which certain games are divided.
b. A halfback.
4. Chiefly British A school term; a semester.
5. Half an hour: a half past one.
a. Being one of two equal parts.
b. Being approximately a half.
2. Partial or incomplete: gave me a half smile.
1. To the extent of exactly or nearly 50 percent: The tank is half empty.
2. Not completely or sufficiently; partly: only half right.
by half
1. By a considerable extent.
2. By an excessive amount: too clever by half.
by halves
In a reluctant manner; unenthusiastically.
half again as many/much
One-and-a-half times as much or as many; 50 percent more.
in half
Into halves.
not half
Not at all: "Fancy housing? Not half likely, ma'am" (Russell Baker).
not the half of
Only a fraction or a small part of.

[Middle English, from Old English healf; see skel- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.