\ ˈhōl How to pronounce hole (audio) \

Definition of hole

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an opening through something : perforation The coat has a hole in it. a bullet hole
b : an area where something is missing His mother's death left a hole in his life. : gap: such as
(1) : a serious discrepancy : flaw, weakness some holes in your logic
(2) : an opening in a defensive formation a running back's ability to find holes in the defensive line especially : the area of a baseball field between the positions of shortstop and third baseman
(3) : a defect in a crystal (as of a semiconductor) that is due to an electron's having left its normal position in one of the crystal bonds and that is equivalent in many respects to a positively charged particle
2 : a hollowed-out place a hole in an apple : such as
a : a cave, pit, or well in the ground dug a large hole with a steam shovel
b : burrow a rabbit hole
c : an unusually deep place in a body of water (such as a river)
3a : a wretched or dreary place How could anyone live in such a hole?
b : a prison cell especially for solitary confinement threw him in the hole for two days
4a golf : a shallow cylindrical hole or hollowed-out place in the putting green of a golf course into which the ball is played
b : a part of the golf course from tee (see tee entry 2 sense 2) to putting green just beginning play on the third hole also : the play on such a hole as a unit of scoring won the hole by two strokes
5a : an awkward position or circumstance : fix got the rebels out of a hole at the battle— Kenneth Roberts
b : a position of owing or losing money $10 million in the hole raising money to get out of the hole
in the hole
1 : having a score below zero
2 : at a disadvantage


holed; holing

Definition of hole (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make an opening through or a hollowed-out place in (as by cutting, digging, boring, or shooting at) : to make a hole (see hole entry 1) in The ship was holed along the waterline by enemy fire.
2 : to drive or hit into a hole hole a putt The dogs holed the fox.

intransitive verb

: to make an opening through or a hollowed-out place in something : to make a hole in something

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Examples of hole in a Sentence

Noun I have a hole in my sock. He fixed the hole in the roof. a mouse hole in the wall The dog dug a deep hole. Her putt rolled right into the hole. She made a birdie on the seventh hole. The course has 18 holes. Verb She holed a long putt for a birdie. holed the target with a round of shots See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Poking your cake a second time, therefore, ensures the soak will properly fill each hole. Washington Post, 11 May 2022 Naquin was left with a bases-clearing triple and Houser a very early 4-0 hole that shouldn't have been nearly that deep. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 May 2022 Another detail that’s not necessarily a plot hole concerns having more Avengers intervene. Chris Smith, BGR, 10 May 2022 The Department of Defense is now becoming a victim of its own success, however, having delivered so many weapons to Ukraine that the shipments have made a visible hole in the U.S. military’s own wartime stockpiles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 10 May 2022 For decades, no one has done more to direct federal money to Alabama than Britt’s former boss, Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabamian of rare political power, one who is about to retire and leave a gaping hole. al, 9 May 2022 He was asked what the heck was the problem that has the regular season’s best team in a 2-1 series hole. Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel, 7 May 2022 Our father was usually in the garden of our East Coast home digging a hole for a tree or fixing a gate. San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 May 2022 The blast blew the roof off his home and incinerated his outhouse, leaving nothing but a roll of toilet paper sitting in a pile of dust near the hole for the latrine. New York Times, 7 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Apple is moving to hole-punch displays this year, but the notch replacement isn’t quite as clean as on Android phones. Chris Smith, BGR, 6 Apr. 2022 Add a few handfuls of worm castings to hole but no other amendments. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Oct. 2021 With Cantlay in close, the Spaniard had to hole the chip to have any chance of a playoff. BostonGlobe.com, 5 Sep. 2021 Proximity to hole leaders from 175-200 yards include: Collin Morikawa, Charley Hoffman, Xander Schauffele, Viktor Hovland, Abraham Ancer, Daniel Berger, Will Zalatoris and Tony Finau. Jay Ginsbach, Forbes, 17 June 2021 Betsy Wentz, founder of Studio B Interior Design, has an office/command center at one of three kitchen islands (more on those later) while her husband, a doctor, can hole away in a study. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, 30 July 2020 Brady was the butt of the joke (quite literally when his pants split down the back) until the six-time Super Bowl winner holed-out from the fairway on the Par-5 7th hole in the greatest moment of the event. Carolyn Manno, CNN, 25 May 2020 The two friends appear to have been holed together for the past week. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 19 Mar. 2020 Kobe wasn't playing the toughest defense when Knowles took it to hole for a lay-up. NBC News, 24 Feb. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hole.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hole


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for hole


Middle English hole, holle, going back to Old English hol "hollow place, cave, pit," noun derivative from neuter of hol "hollow, deeply concave, sunken," going back to Germanic *hula- (whence also Old Saxon & Old High German hol "hollow," Old Norse holr), probably going back to Indo-European *ḱuH-ló- (with assumed shortening of pretonic vowel), zero-grade derivative of a base *ḱeu̯H- "hollow," whence, with varying ablaut and suffixation, Greek koîlos, kóïlos "hollow, deep" (from *ḱou̯H-ilo-), Latin cavus "hollow, concave" (from *ḱou̯H-o-), Middle Irish cúa "hollow space, cavity," Middle Welsh ceu "hollow, empty" (both from *ḱou̯H-i̯o-?), Old Church Slavic sui "vain, empty" (from *ḱou̯H-i̯o-)


Middle English holen, going back to Old English holian, derivative of hol hole entry 1

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Time Traveler for hole

Time Traveler

The first known use of hole was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near hole

hold yard



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Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hole. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for hole


\ ˈhōl How to pronounce hole (audio) \

Kids Definition of hole

1 : an opening into or through something There's a hole in the roof.
2 : a hollowed out place I dug a hole.
3 : den sense 1, burrow a mouse hole

More from Merriam-Webster on hole

Nglish: Translation of hole for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hole for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hole


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