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


adjective va·cant \ˈvā-kənt\

Simple Definition of vacant

  • : not filled, used, or lived in

  • of a job or position : not occupied by a person : available to be taken by someone

  • : showing no indication of what someone is thinking, feeling, etc.

Full Definition of vacant

  1. 1 :  not occupied by an incumbent, possessor, or officer <a vacant office> <vacant thrones>

  2. 2 :  being without content or occupant <a vacant seat on a bus> <a vacant room>

  3. 3 :  free from activity or work :  disengaged <vacant hours>

  4. 4 :  devoid of thought, reflection, or expression <a vacant smile>

  5. 5 :  not lived in <vacant houses>

  6. 6 a :  not put to use <vacant land> b :  having no heir or claimant :  abandoned <a vacant estate>

va·cant·ly adverb
va·cant·ness noun

Examples of vacant

  1. These lockers are all vacant.

  2. The seat was left vacant when the secretary resigned.

  3. He had a vacant expression on his face.

Origin of vacant

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin vacant-, vacans, present participle of vacare to be empty, be free

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of vacant

empty, vacant, blank, void, vacuous mean lacking contents which could or should be present. empty suggests a complete absence of contents <an empty bucket>. vacant suggests an absence of appropriate contents or occupants <a vacant apartment>. blank stresses the absence of any significant, relieving, or intelligible features on a surface <a blank wall>. void suggests absolute emptiness as far as the mind or senses can determine <a statement void of meaning>. vacuous suggests the emptiness of a vacuum and especially the lack of intelligence or significance <a vacuous facial expression>.

VACANT Defined for Kids


adjective va·cant \ˈvā-kənt\

Definition of vacant

  1. 1 :  not filled, used, or lived in <a vacant house> <a vacant lot> <a vacant job position>

  2. 2 :  showing a lack of thought or expression <vacant eyes>

  3. 3 :  free from duties or care <vacant hours>

va·cant·ly adverb

Seen and Heard

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


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

16.96 pounds 2.2 pounds 196.5 pounds 100 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


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