\ ˈhōl \

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


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.


She holed a long putt for a birdie. holed the target with a round of shots
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

During the night, workers cut a hole in the hotel's wall, dropped a cable four stories to the street below and then pulled the cable through a manhole to the New York Central Railway, which used alternating current. Judy Buchenot, Naperville Sun, "Suburban Cooks: Mints go from trash to treasured cookies," 13 July 2018 The trade brought in a veteran, reliable, and well-liked hitter to fill a hole in the lineup and some needed help with the pitching staff. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Whit not an All-Star (?), Jeff Long and KU, Chiefs fears, Odom's crossroads," 10 July 2018 If named a mayoral adviser on police reform and public safety, McLay would fill a hole in Durkan’s administration, the source said. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "How the deal likely to make Carmen Best chief of Seattle police came together," 9 July 2018 Benitez is looking to fill the three holes left by the sales of Mikel Merino to Real Sociedad, Aleksandar Mitrovic to Fulham and Chancel Mbemba to Porto. SI.com, "Rafa Benitez Hopeful of Signing £16.5m-Rated Striker Ahead of New Season as Kickoff Looms," 6 July 2018 Air base crews would have struggled mightily to operate around the clock, all while down enemy aircraft, fill holes in the runway, scrub away lethal nerve agents, and prevent enemy commandos from overrunning the base. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch A-10 Warthogs Landing on the German Autobahn During the Cold War," 5 July 2018 Graves filled the clean-up hole in the Marlins’ lineup, given the job of protecting Realmuto in the lineup. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Marlins denied another walk-off win as Rays outlast Miami in 16 innings," 4 July 2018 Memphis Memphis seems likely to fill the daunting hole left by quarterback Riley Ferguson with another Power Five transfer in Brady White, the favorite to nab the starting role heading into fall camp. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "American Athletic Conference power rankings: Central Florida still the clear favorite," 2 July 2018 At the top of the structure, three LED lights fill the hexagonal holes and light up like a lamp when skin touches the outside of the concrete. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Smart concrete wall reacts to human touch," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Johnson holed medium-length putts for birdies, a few nervy, short putts for par and picked up a bonus when his shot from a front bunker on the par-4 eighth rattled and rolled into the cup. Doug Ferguson, chicagotribune.com, "Dustin Johnson shares lead with three others in a U.S. Open that plays like one," 14 June 2018 On 17, a par-5, Squires barely missed holing a chip from off the green. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "Mariemont grad Will Grimmer continues hot summer with Met golf championship," 1 July 2018 Been more confident with it and holed some more putts. Christopher Hanna, courant.com, "J.B. Holmes' Back Nine Play Propels Him To Travelers Championship Contention," 24 June 2018 How To Watch SUNDAY Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET TV Channel: CBS Sports Time: 2 to 7 p.m. ET TV Channel: CBS Stream: Masters.com has live coverage of featured groups, Amen Corner (11-13), holes 15 and 16 and a simulcast of the CBS broadcast. Jenna West, SI.com, "How to Watch the 2018 Masters: Fourth Round Live Streams, TV Channel," 7 Apr. 2018 Spieth opened up at 3-over par in his first two holes, but holed the only birdie of the group through nine holes at the 18th. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "6 U.S. Open favorites who got off to awful starts on Thursday," 14 June 2018 In the final round of the 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic, Dustin Johnson holes a 169-yard approach shot for eagle on the par-4 18th hole. Shaun Goodwin, kansascity, "Tom Watson finishes one stroke back to KU golfer in Watson Challenge," 10 June 2018 That in addition to their only child, the building was also one to suffer from the Moore’s contentious divorce—holes the size of baseballs in the plaster and lathe walls, shredded wooden door frames. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Algren Award runner-up: "Here Is Where the Taxi Driver Set His Wife on Fire" by GKS Waller," 2 June 2018 But this time around, Johnson failed to hole putts and went 0-3 in group play, thus failing to advance to the knockout rounds. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "Justin Thomas Can Become World No. 1 With Win Over Bubba Watson at WGC-Dell Match Play," 24 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for hole

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for hole

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

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More Definitions for hole



English Language Learners Definition of hole

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an opening into or through something

: a hollow place in the ground

: a place in the ground where an animal lives



English Language Learners Definition of hole (Entry 2 of 2)

golf : to hit (the ball) into the hole


\ ˈhōl \

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

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