The paper defends the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition of health against widespread criticism. The common objections are due to a possible misinterpretation of the word complete in the descriptor of health as ‘complete physical, mental and social well-being’. Complete here does not necessarily refer to perfect well-being but can alternatively mean exhaustive well-being, that is, containing all its constitutive features. In line with the alternative reading, I argue that the WHO definition puts forward a holistic account, not a notion of perfect health. I use historical and analytical evidence to defend this interpretation. In the second part of the paper, I further investigate the two different notions of health (holistic health and perfect health). I argue that both ideas are relevant but that the holistic interpretation is more adept for political aims.