Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

hollow

play
noun hol·low \ˈhä-(ˌ)lō\

Simple Definition of hollow

  • : a place or area (especially on the ground) that is lower than the area around it

  • : an empty space inside of something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of hollow

  1. 1 :  an unfilled space :  cavity, hole

  2. 2 :  a depressed or low part of a surface; especially :  a small valley or basin

Examples of hollow in a sentence

  1. The owls nested in the hollow of a tree.

  2. <made a little hollow in her mound of mashed potatoes and filled it with gravy>



Origin and Etymology of hollow

Middle English holw, holh, from Old English holh hole, hollow — more at hole


First Known Use: before 12th century


2

hollow

adjective hol·low

Simple Definition of hollow

  • : having nothing inside : not solid

  • : curved inward or down

  • : not having real value or meaning

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of hollow

hollower

play \ˈhä-lə-wər\

hollowest

play \-lə-wəst\
  1. 1 :  having an indentation or inward curve :  concave, sunken

  2. 2 :  having a cavity within <a hollow tree>

  3. 3 :  lacking in real value, sincerity, or substance :  false, meaningless <hollow promises> <a victory over a weakling is hollow and without triumph — Ernest Beaglehole>

  4. 4 :  reverberating like a sound made in or by beating on a large empty enclosure :  muffled

hollowly

play \ˈhä-lō-lē, -lə-lē\ adverb

hollowness

noun

Examples of hollow in a sentence

  1. There was a hollow spot in the field.

  2. <there's a noticeably hollow spot in the mattress where he has been sleeping>



Origin and Etymology of hollow

Middle English holw, holh, from holh hole


First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of hollow

vain, nugatory, otiose, idle, empty, hollow mean being without worth or significance. vain implies either absolute or relative absence of value <vain promises>. nugatory suggests triviality or insignificance <a monarch with nugatory powers>. otiose suggests that something serves no purpose and is either an encumbrance or a superfluity <a film without a single otiose scene>. idle suggests being incapable of worthwhile use or effect <idle speculations>. empty and hollow suggest a deceiving lack of real substance or soundness or genuineness <an empty attempt at reconciliation> <a hollow victory>.

3

hollow

verb hol·low

Simple Definition of hollow

  • : to remove the inside of (something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of hollow

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make hollow

  3. 2 :  to form by a hollowing action —usually used with out <rain barrels hollowed out from trees — Robert Shaplen>

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to become hollow

Examples of hollow in a sentence

  1. They hollowed the log to make a canoe.



15th Century

First Known Use of hollow

15th century


4

hollow

adverb hol·low

Definition of hollow

  1. 1 :  so as to have a hollow sound

  2. 2 :  completely, thoroughly <an ongoing story that has the old cowboy-and-Indians genre beat hollow — Barbara Bannon> —often used with all



1601

First Known Use of hollow

1601

Rhymes with hollow



HOLLOW Defined for Kids

1

hollow

play
adjective hol·low \ˈhä-lō\

Definition of hollow for Students

hollower

hollowest

  1. 1 :  having a space inside :  not solid <a hollow chocolate egg>

  2. 2 :  curved inward :  sunken <hollow cheeks>

  3. 3 :  suggesting a sound made in an empty place <a hollow roar>

  4. 4 :  not sincere <a hollow promise>

hollowly

adverb



2

hollow

play
noun hol·low

Definition of hollow for Students

  1. 1 :  a low spot in a surface <Circling around through the flats, I came to the hollow above the Pritchards' place. — Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows>

  2. 2 :  a small valley

  3. 3 :  an empty space within something <Owls live in the hollow of the tree.>




3

hollow

play
verb hol·low

Definition of hollow for Students

hollowed

hollowing

  1. :  to make or become hollow <The canoe was made by hollowing out a log.>




Medical Dictionary

hollow

play
noun hol·low \ˈhäl-(ˌ)ō, -ə(-w)\

Medical Definition of hollow

  1. :  a depressed part of a surface or a concavity <the hollow at the back of the knee>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up hollow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

prophetic or oracular

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

frenetic melancholy lazy philistine
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ