A housekeeper says to Armanda about Vincent's behavior:

Housekeeper: You know Vincent actually did his ungodly act on a Sunday? That's not the half of it. I saw him that Day. I was on my way to church. Laughing and joking with those Sacretain boys, drinking they were laughing at God, knowing what he was going to be doing on God's day.

What does "it" mean?


3 Answers 3


This is based on the expression not know the half of it. The Cambridge Dictionary defines this as:

If someone does not know the half of it, they know that a situation is bad but do not know how serious it is

  • ime (native speaker but without specific citations) it's a bit more general than that. Saying "that's not the half of it" is to imply that the earlier statement is actually less extreme than whole truth (and if someone doesn't know the half of it, they only know the less extreme version). So it can be used for good things too, e.g. someone could say "John is such a generous guy, he gave £30 to the homeless guy yesterday" and someone else might follow up with "that's not the half of it, he volunteers at a shelter every week!". Obviously this particular example is a bad one though
    – Tristan
    Sep 23, 2021 at 10:28
  • @Tristan Old Brixtonian has already made that point in his answer. I think it's a valid point: upvote him.
    – JavaLatte
    Sep 23, 2021 at 11:45
  • ah I only skimmed that answer and missed that. Thanks
    – Tristan
    Sep 23, 2021 at 13:04

It's as JavaLatte says, though I've also heard it used when things were far better than expected.

In 1 Kings 10:7 [KJV], when the queen of Sheba sees the house Solomon has built, she tells the king the reports she had heard were true.

Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

When I was young, if I showed an elderly relative some new toy of mine they would sometimes say, "Behold, the half was not told me." It was the "How good is that?!" of its day.


"That's not the half of it." Usage refers to not knowing the facts or the story. That's literally the "it" in this phrase.

It's a way of stating that the shared facts are scant, as compared with the complete set of known facts.

Another way of expressing that one knows a small percentage of "the story."

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