half an eye

half an eye

a slight degree of perception or attention

1962 - Cyprian Ekwensi - Burning Grass – His sandals were new because it was market day or perhaps he had half an eye to some maiden.


a beauty and a half

a particular person or thing considered as an impressive example of the kind specified – informal

1998 - Sarah Waters - Tipping the Velvet – The daughter must be a beauty and a half…if the mother is so eager to keep her safe and close, away from young men’s eyes.

at half cock

when only partly ready – informal

At half cock is used of a firearm with the cock lifted but not moved to the position at which the trigger will act. It is usually found in go off at half cock or go off half-cocked meaning go ahead without making proper preparation and therefore fail.

half the battle

an important step towards achieving something

half a chance

the slightest opportunity – informal

1970 - Nina Bawden - The Birds on the Trees – Give her half a chance and she’ll make you think black’s white.

half a loaf

not as much as you want but better than nothing

This phrase alludes to the proverb half a loaf is better than no bread which has been in use since the mid 16th century.

the half of it

the most important part or aspect of something – informal

1987 - George Turner - Sea & Summer Mum... would ask, ‘But is this true?’ and Billy... would tell her that wasn’t the half of it.

have something on your mind

be troubled by the thought of something

how the other half lives

used to express or allude to the way of life of a different group in society, especially a wealthier one - British informal

not do things by halves

do things thoroughly or extravagantly

not half

not nearly as

not at all – informal

to an extreme degree

very much so - British informal

too bad by half

used to emphasize something bad – British

1994 - Independent on Sunday - The idea that moving a few pot plants around a room can bring its occupant prosperity and well-being seems too superstitious by half.

your better half

your husband or wife – humorous

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