From health +‎ -y.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɛl.θi/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛlθi



healthy (comparative healthier or more healthy, superlative healthiest or most healthy)

  1. Enjoying good health; well; free from disease or disorder.
    Antonym: unhealthy
    He was father to three healthy kids.
    a healthy mind in a healthy body
    Brush regularly to keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy.
    My fruit trees are looking very healthy.
    • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 5, in Death on the Centre Court:
      By one o'clock the place was choc-a-bloc. […] The restaurant was packed, and the promenade between the two main courts and the subsidiary courts was thronged with healthy-looking youngish people, drawn to the Mecca of tennis from all parts of the country.
  2. Conducive to health.
    Synonym: healthful
    Antonym: unhealthy
    A healthy diet can help to maintain proper weight.
    • 2013 July 19, Ian Sample, “Irregular bedtimes may affect children's brains”, in The Guardian Weekly[1], volume 189, number 6, page 34:
      Irregular bedtimes may disrupt healthy brain development in young children, according to a study of intelligence and sleeping habits.  ¶ Going to bed at a different time each night affected girls more than boys, but both fared worse on mental tasks than children who had a set bedtime, researchers found.
    • 2016, T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell, The China Study, revised and expanded edition, BenBella Books, Inc., page 214:
      It was heretical to say that protein wasn't healthy, let alone say it promoted cancer.
  3. Evincing health.
    Her face had a healthy glow.
  4. (figuratively) Significant, hefty; beneficial.
    a healthy respect for authority
    Sam unwrapped the sandwich and took a healthy bite out of the middle.
    a healthy dislike, a healthy contempt

Usage notes


When a clearer distinction between the senses is required, the use of healthy may be reserved for describing the state of the object, while healthful may be used to describe its ability to impart health to the recipient. Vegetables in good condition are both healthy (i.e., not rotten or diseased) and healthful (i.e., they improve the eaters' health, compared to eating junk food). By contrast, a poisonous plant can be healthy, but it is not healthful to eat it. However, in informal speech, this distinction is not observed.

Derived terms



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Further reading