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

a representation of something

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?

melancholy lazy philistine frenetic
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