|health·y (hlth)|adj. health·i·er
1. Possessing good health.
2. Conducive to good health; healthful: healthy air.
3. Indicative of sound, rational thinking or frame of mind: a healthy attitude.
4. Sizable; considerable: a healthy portion of potatoes; a healthy raise in salary.
healthi·ly adv. healthi·ness n.
Synonyms: healthy, sound2, wholesome, hale1, robust, well2, hardy1, vigorous
These adjectives mean being in or indicative of good physical or mental health. Healthy stresses the absence of disease and often implies energy and strength: The healthy athlete biked twenty miles every day.
Sound emphasizes freedom from injury, imperfection, or impairment: The man with the toothache thinks everyone happy whose teeth are sound (George Bernard Shaw).
Wholesome suggests appealing healthiness and well-being: Exercise develops wholesome appetites (Louisa May Alcott).
Hale stresses freedom from infirmity, especially in elderly persons, while robust emphasizes healthy strength and ruggedness: He is pretty well advanced in years, but hale, robust, and florid (Tobias Smollett).
Well indicates absence of or recovery from sickness: You should stay home from work if youre not well.
Hardy implies robust and sturdy good health: The hardy mountaineers camped in the Alps.
Vigorous suggests healthy, active energy and strength: a vigorous old man, who spent half of his day on horseback (W.H. Hudson).
The distinction in meaning between healthy
(possessing good health) and healthful
(conducive to good health) was ascribed to the two terms only as late as the 1880s. This distinction, though tenaciously supported by some critics, is belied by citational evidencehealthy
has been used to mean healthful since the 16th century. Use of healthy
in this sense is to be found in the works of many distinguished writers, with this example from John Locke being typical: Gardening . . . and working in wood, are fit and healthy recreations for a man of study or business.
Therefore, both healthy
are correct in these contexts: a healthy climate, a healthful climate; a healthful diet, a healthy diet.