Full vs. Partial: Know the Difference
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on November 8, 2023
Full implies completeness, while partial indicates only a portion or some part of the whole.
In usage, 'Full' can refer to a complete extent or degree, like full satisfaction, where the experience leaves nothing more to be desired. 'Partial,' in contrast, could describe a situation where satisfaction is incomplete, indicating that the experience was adequate but did not fully meet expectations or potential, such as partial relief from pain.
'Full' often connotes a sense of wholeness or completion in various contexts, such as a full bottle, where the implication is that no more liquid can be added. 'Partial,' on the other hand, indicates that there is space for more, that what is currently there is only a fraction of the capacity, like a partial filling of a glass where more liquid can still be poured in.
When 'Full' is used, it also may suggest an entire duration or period, such as in a full year, meaning that all twelve months are accounted for. 'Partial' could be used to describe a timeframe that does not cover the whole period, like a partial year, possibly referring to just a few months of that year.
The term 'Full' suggests that something is complete, lacking nothing, or containing all that is necessary or possible. It represents the idea of totality, wherein no additional elements are needed or expected. Conversely, 'Partial' denotes that something is not complete, with some elements or segments missing. It implies that what is present is only a part of the whole, not the entirety.
In terms of commitment or bias, 'Full' implies a total commitment or a completely unbiased viewpoint. 'Partial', however, often suggests a bias or preference, as in a judge being partial to one side in a trial, meaning they show undue favor towards that side and not the complete impartiality that is required.
Entire, with no parts left out
Not entire, with some parts omitted
At maximum limit
Not at maximum, room to add more
Extent or Degree
Completely, without lacking
Not completely, somewhat lacking
Entire duration covered
Only part of the duration covered
Bias or Preference
Without bias, fully neutral
With bias, showing preference
Full and Partial Definitions
Maximum capacity or extent
The theater was full to capacity.
Incomplete in duration
She worked there for a partial year.
Entire or whole
He gave his full attention to the project.
Biased or prejudiced
His analysis was partial and not objective.
She was full of enthusiasm for the new plan.
Of, relating to, being, or affecting only a part; not total; incomplete
The plan calls for partial deployment of missiles. The police have only a partial description of the suspect.
Unrestricted or undiminished
He has full control over the business.
Favoring one person or side over another or others; biased or prejudiced
A decision that was partial to the plaintiff.
Containing all that is normal or possible
A full pail.
Having a particular liking or fondness for something or someone
Partial to spicy food.
Complete in every particular
A full account.
(Mathematics) Of or being operations or sequences of operations, such as differentiation and integration, when applied to only one of several variables at a time.
Amounting to three balls and two strikes. Used of a count.
(Music) See harmonic.
Having a base runner at first, second, and third base
The bases were full when the slugger stepped up to bat.
(Mathematics) A partial derivative.
Of maximum or highest degree
At full speed.
Existing as a part or portion; incomplete
So far, I have only pieced together a partial account of the incident.
Being at the peak of development or maturity
In full bloom.
(computer science) describing a property that holds only when an algorithm terminates
It's easy to prove partial correctness, but it's not obvious that it is also totally correct.
Of or relating to a full moon.
Biased in favor of a person, side, or point of view, especially when dealing with a competition or dispute
The referee is blatantly partial!
God is not partial; he does not play favorites.
Having a great deal or many
A book full of errors.
(followed by the preposition to) having a predilection for something
Totally qualified, accepted, or empowered
A full member of the club.
(mathematics) of or relating to a partial derivative or partial differential
Rounded in shape; plump
A full figure.
Having or made with a generous amount of fabric
(mathematics) A partial derivative: a derivative with respect to one independent variable of a function in multiple variables while holding the other variables constant.
Having an appetite completely satisfied, especially for food or drink
Was full after the Thanksgiving dinner.
(music) Any of the sine waves which make up a complex tone; often an overtone or harmonic of the fundamental.
Providing an abundance, especially of food.
(dentistry) dentures that replace only some of the natural teeth
Having depth and body; rich
A full aroma.
(forensics) An incomplete fingerprint
Completely absorbed or preoccupied
“He was already pretty full of himself” (Ron Rosenbaum).
A fragment of a template containing markup.
Possessing both parents in common
(bodybuilding) The condition of not exhausting the amplitude during the repetition of an exercise.
Of or relating to a full-size bed
A full bed skirt.
To take the partial regression coefficient.
Full in the path of the moon.
Of, pertaining to, or affecting, a part only; not general or universal; not total or entire; as, a partial eclipse of the moon.
To a complete extent; entirely. Sometimes used in combination
Knew full well.
Inclined to favor one party in a cause, or one side of a question, more then the other; biased; not indifferent; as, a judge should not be partial.
Ye have been partial in the law.
To make (a garment) full, as by pleating or gathering.
Having a predilection for; inclined to favor unreasonably; foolishly fond.
Not partial to an ostentatious display.
To become full. Used of the moon.
Pertaining to a subordinate portion; as, a compound umbel is made up of a several partial umbels; a leaflet is often supported by a partial petiole.
To increase the density and usually the thickness of (cloth) by shrinking and beating or pressing.
The derivative of a function of two or more variables with respect to a single variable while the other variables are considered to be constant
The maximum or complete size or amount
Repaid in full.
A harmonic with a frequency that is a multiple of the fundamental frequency
The highest degree or state
Living life to the full.
Being or affecting only a part; not total;
A partial description of the suspect
A partial eclipse
A partial monopoly
A full-size bed.
Containing the maximum possible amount that can fit in the space available.
The jugs were full to the point of overflowing.
(followed by `of' or `to') having a strong preference or liking for;
Fond of chocolate
Partial to horror movies
Complete; with nothing omitted.
Our book gives full treatment to the subject of angling.
Not complete or whole
He has only a partial understanding of the subject.
She had tattoos the full length of her arms.
He was prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Favouring one side
The referee seems to be showing partiality.
Completely empowered, authorized or qualified (in some role); not limited.
Fractional or limited
The project is only a partial success.
(informal) Having eaten to satisfaction, having a "full" stomach; replete.
"I'm full," he said, pushing back from the table.
Replete, abounding with.
This movie doesn't make sense; it's full of plot holes.
I prefer my pizzas full of toppings.
(of physical features) Plump, round.
Full lips; a full face; a full figure
(of the moon) Having its entire face illuminated.
(of garments) Of a size that is ample, wide, or having ample folds or pleats to be comfortable.
A full pleated skirt;
She needed her full clothing during her pregnancy.
Having depth and body; rich.
A full singing voice
(obsolete) Having the mind filled with ideas; stocked with knowledge; stored with information.
Having the attention, thoughts, etc., absorbed in any matter, and the feelings more or less excited by it.
She's full of her latest project.
Filled with emotions.
(obsolete) Impregnated; made pregnant.
Said of the three cards of the same rank in a full house.
(archaic) Fully; quite; very; thoroughly; completely; exactly; entirely.
Utmost measure or extent; highest state or degree; the state, position, or moment of fullness; fill.
I was fed to the full.
(of the moon) The phase of the moon when its entire face is illuminated, full moon.
(freestyle skiing) An aerialist maneuver consisting of a backflip in conjunction and simultaneous with a complete twist.
(of the moon) To become full or wholly illuminated.
(transitive) To baptise.
To make cloth denser and firmer by soaking, beating and pressing; to waulk or walk.
Filled up, having within its limits all that it can contain; supplied; not empty or vacant; - said primarily of hollow vessels, and hence of anything else; as, a cup full of water; a house full of people.
Had the throne been full, their meeting would not have been regular.
Abundantly furnished or provided; sufficient in quantity, quality, or degree; copious; plenteous; ample; adequate; as, a full meal; a full supply; a full voice; a full compensation; a house full of furniture.
Not wanting in any essential quality; complete; entire; perfect; adequate; as, a full narrative; a person of full age; a full stop; a full face; the full moon.
It came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaohdreamed.
The man commandsLike a full soldier.
I can notRequest a fuller satisfactionThan you have freely granted.
I am full of the burnt offerings of rams.
Having the mind filled with ideas; stocked with knowledge; stored with information.
Reading maketh a full man.
Having the attention, thoughts, etc., absorbed in any matter, and the feelings more or less excited by it, as, to be full of some project.
Every one is full of the miracles done by cold baths on decayed and weak constitutions.
Filled with emotions.
The heart is so full that a drop overfills it.
Impregnated; made pregnant.
Ilia, the fair, . . . full of Mars.
Complete measure; utmost extent; the highest state or degree.
The swan's-down feather,That stands upon the swell at full of tide.
Quite; to the same degree; without abatement or diminution; with the whole force or effect; thoroughly; completely; exactly; entirely.
The pawn I proffer shall be full as good.
The diapason closing full in man.
Full in the center of the sacred wood.
To become full or wholly illuminated; as, the moon fulls at midnight.
To thicken by moistening, heating, and pressing, as cloth; to mill; to make compact; to scour, cleanse, and thicken in a mill.
To become fulled or thickened; as, this material fulls well.
Beat for the purpose of cleaning and thickening;
Full the cloth
Make (a garment) fuller by pleating or gathering
Increase in phase;
The moon is waxing
Containing as much or as many as is possible or normal;
A full glass
A sky full of stars
A full life
The auditorium was full to overflowing
Constituting the full quantity or extent; complete;
An entire town devastated by an earthquake
Gave full attention
A total failure
Complete in extent or degree and in every particular;
A full game
A total eclipse
A total disaster
Filled to satisfaction with food or drink;
A full stomach
(of sound) having marked depth and body;
A full voice
Having the normally expected amount;
Gives full measure
Gives good measure
A good mile from here
Being at a peak or culminating point;
Not separated into parts or shares; constituting an undivided unit;
An undivided interest in the property
A full share
Having ample fabric;
The current taste for wide trousers
A full skirt
To the greatest degree or extent; completely or entirely; (`full' in this sense is used as a combining form);
He didn't fully understand
Knew full well
Complete in quantity or degree
The tank is full of water.
Repeatedly Asked Queries
Can 'full' refer to abstract concepts?
Yes, it can signify complete extent or maximum degree in abstract terms.
What does 'full' mean?
'Full' means complete, with no part missing.
What does 'partial' indicate?
'Partial' refers to something that is not complete, or only a fraction of the whole.
Does 'partial' suggest bias?
Yes, it can imply bias or a lack of neutrality.
Can 'full' refer to a full plate of food?
Yes, it means the plate has no room for more food.
Is 'partial' always negative?
No, it's not inherently negative, it simply denotes incompleteness.
Can 'full' mean 'entire'?
Yes, 'full' can be synonymous with 'entire'.
What is a 'full' refund?
It's a refund where the entire amount is returned.
What's a 'partial' eclipse?
It's an eclipse where only a part of the celestial body is obscured.
Can 'partial' be used in describing work?
Yes, as in partial completion of a task.
What does 'partial download' mean?
It means the download is incomplete.
Is 'full' absolute?
In many contexts, yes, it denotes an absolute state.
Does 'full' apply to digital storage?
Yes, it means no additional data can be stored.
Can 'partial' describe feelings?
Yes, one can feel partial happiness.
Is 'partial' attention possible?
Yes, it means the focus is divided or incomplete.
What does 'partial refund' mean?
It means only part of the amount is returned.
What's a 'full' day?
A day with activities or work for the entire duration.
Can 'full' be used with emotions?
Yes, as in "full of joy."
Can 'partial' refer to partial credit?
Yes, it means not all points were awarded.
Can 'full' relate to attention?
Yes, 'full attention' means undivided focus.
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Written byShumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.