Whole vs Hole: Difference and Comparison

The English words ‘whole’ and ‘hole’ are mistaken to be the same. It is common for English language learners to confuse these words since they are homophones and have the same pronunciation.

They also function differently in a sentence. These words work as verbs, nouns, and adjectives depending on the making of the sentences.

Key Takeaways

  1. “Whole” refers to something complete, entire, or undivided, used as an adjective to describe an object or a concept.
  2. “Hole” is a noun that denotes a hollow space or opening in a solid surface or material.
  3. “Whole” describes the completeness or entirety of something, while “hole” refers to a cavity or opening in a surface.

Whole vs Hole

A hole is a cavity or a depression area. It can be used to refer to a chasm or a gap in the ground, on a wall or in any space. Hole is used as a noun. Whole can be used both as an adverb and an adjective. Whole means entire or all of something and is used to refer to the totality or completeness of something.

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The term ‘whole’ refers to all of a thing or component. The word as an adjective refers to something whole, complete, or unbroken.

This noun refers to something that has a total or an absolute amount. We may also employ it as an adverb to emphasize novelty.

A hole is a noun. In other words, it refers to an opening that runs through something. The hole is a noun as well as a verb. It alludes to a blank spot in something. Making a hole or driving into a hole can be described using the transitive word hole.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonWholeHole
IntroductionWe can use it as a noun and an adjective in a sentence.We can use it as a noun in a sentence.
MeaningAs an adjective, it means something whole, complete, or unbroken. As a noun, it means an absolute amount of things.It refers to an opening, a hollow spot, a flaw, or a dismal place.
PronunciationIt pronounces ‘hole’, and the ‘w’ is silent.It considered all the syllables while pronouncing.
SpellingIt has similar spelling as a hole with the prefix ‘w’.Its spelling is h-o-l-e.
OriginThe word ‘whole’ comes from the Old English word ‘hal,’ which means complete, whole, undamaged, safe, sound, and straightforward.It derived a hole from the Old English word Holian, which means to scoop out or hollow out.

What is Whole?

The whole is an adjective that means all of something or the complete or entire object or thing. Examples:
Did you eat the whole pizza?

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This whole thing is crazy. The whole truth differed from the one told earlier. As an adjective, it writes as, The whole state mourned the death of the actor.

She showed me the whole truth.
After the ceremony, there was not a bottle left whole.

As a noun, it writes as
Four quarters make a whole.
She spent the whole of the year in the hospital.

Some commonly used synonyms of the word ‘whole’ are entire, complete, full, total, undivided, and intact.

Some commonly used antonyms of the word whole are incomplete, insufficient, part, broken, partial, and fractional.
Some idioms with the word are ‘as a whole’, ‘a whole heap’, the whole lot, and ‘the whole picture.’

The word whole is a determiner. To talk about quantity, we use entire before nouns and after other determiners (my, the, a/an, their). It is a term we use to characterize a thing that is complete: I have wanted to be a good son my whole life.


What is Hole?

A hole refers to an opening, a hollow spot, a flaw, or a dismal place. It can be a hole in anything that leads to the other side or a hollow in something.

‘Hole’ is a verb that means ‘to have a hole in something.’ It, however, is limited to ships and boats (e.g., the torpedo holed the cruise).

A hole is a noun. Examples: There is a big hole in your sock. The labour is digging a hole in the ground. There is a hole in the doughnut.

The word ‘hole’ finds usage in idioms such as Full of Holes and Hole Up. That both ‘hole’ and ‘hollow’ begin with an ‘h’ is a handy way to recall the distinction.

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As a noun, it writes as That road is full of holes.

He escaped through a hole in the wall.
That is a mouse hole.
Did you find yourself in a hole?

As a verb, it writes as:
The team was holed up in the valleys somewhere.

Some commonly used synonyms of the hole are pit, ditch, trench, depression, hollow, shaft, and pothole.
Some of the ‘hole’ most used antonyms are filler, filling, patch, plug, seal, stopper, barrier, blockage, obstacle, and obstruction.


Main Difference Between Whole and Hole

  • ‘Whole’ can be used both as an adjective and a noun in a sentence. You can use the hole as nouns and verbs in a sentence.
  • The adjective whole implies a complete or unbroken state. As a noun, it refers to an absolute amount or perfect thing. Holes are entrances, hollow regions, faults, or desolate areas.
  • Usually, people pronounce ‘whole’ as ‘hole’ with the silent ‘w’. When pronouncing holes, they account for all syllables.
  • A ‘w’ prefix means that ‘whole’ spells along the same lines as a ‘hole’. We spell a hole as h-o-l-e.
  • ‘Whole’ is derived from the Old English word ‘hal,’ which shows ‘complete, whole, undamaged, safe, sound, genuine, and straightforward.’ The term ‘hole’ comes from the Old English word ‘Holian,’ which means ‘to scoop out’ or ‘to hollow out.’
Whole vs Hole – What are the differences
  1. https://aclanthology.org/C10-1113.pdf
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=WVqlGOJvcgoC&oi=fnd&pg=PA227&dq=whole+verb+or+noun&ots=b9W6mO4Z1T&sig=vIViSfOMqHOB3NbwUpXBm5hyT8M

Last Updated : 25 July, 2023

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