\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

View Sample Sign Up Now Troy Davis became a household name because there were so many holes in his case. Imani Perry, Time, "'I Will Not Allow That to Be Your Life.' A Mother's Letter to Her Black Sons on Growing Up in America," 17 Sep. 2019 Crews were still working to replace the line and backfill their excavation hole before Cordial Road, on the south side of Interstate 8, could be re-opened and water service restored in the area. Pauline Repard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Water main break near Lakeside disrupts water service," 13 Sep. 2019 In October 2018, Malone took the late night host to his favorite Italian hole-in-the-wall: Olive Garden. Jordan Runtagh, PEOPLE.com, "Jimmy Fallon and Post Malone Kick It (Really) Old School with Medieval Times Jousting Match," 9 Sep. 2019 Michael Bradley birdied his final two holes and tied the course record with a 9-under 61 in the opening round of the Shaw Charity Classic at Calgary. BostonGlobe.com, "Rory McIlroy surges to within a shot of lead at European Masters," 30 Aug. 2019 Cobras surfaced from their holes during the monsoon. Paul Salopek, National Geographic, "These tea plantation workers in India face poverty—and dangers," 30 Aug. 2019 After the tournament, others tried to pry-out the location of his honey hole. Danny Hermosillo, Houston Chronicle, "Houston-area boy fights big fish in viral video," 28 Aug. 2019 Rookie Sarah Schmelzel had the second-best round of the day, finishing with a 62 after notching birdies on seven of her first nine holes. oregonlive, "Hannah Green builds big lead at Cambia Portland Classic; Sei Young Kim fires tournament-record 61," 25 Aug. 2019 The squirrel noticed bending blades of grass, squeaked an alarm call, and then dived into its hole. Anchorage Daily News, "Mummy squirrel tells of a different Alaska 20,000 years ago," 24 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Rather than pigeon-holing themselves on the left and right, the justices' myriad voting splits more often resemble a Rorschach test. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court in transition: Conservatives ascendant but Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh prove unpredictable," 19 June 2019 Varner birdied the 18th to cap off a bogey-free 67 and lead the group at 5-under 205 that includes Jazz Janewattananond (67) and List, who holed two shots from off the green for a 69. Doug Ferguson, The Seattle Times, "Koepka keeps 7-shot lead at PGA Championship," 19 May 2019 Seven strokes behind Goosen at the start of the day, Parel birdied two of the last three holes — holing a 30-footer on the par-4 18th — for 3-under 67 and a one-stroke lead over Goosen at Firestone Country Club. Emmett Prosser, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Parel takes advantage of Goosen's woes in Senior Players Championship," 13 July 2019 Fox’s Ken Rosenthal button-holed the Astros ace in the dugout, asking him to respond to Commissioner Rob Manfred maintaining MLB has done nothing to its baseballs to increase home-run output. Phil Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "All-Star Game winners and losers: James McCann, hitless Cubs bats, still-sore Indians fans and more," 10 July 2019 That’s where Tom Watson improbably holed his chip shot to move ahead of Jack Nicklaus on the 71st hole of the 1982 U.S. Open. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "Pebble Beach’s 17th hole could torment players in this week’s U.S. Open," 9 June 2019 After reaching the green in three shots, Woodland holed the putt and threw up his arms in celebration. Brian Costa, WSJ, "Gary Woodland Wins U.S. Open," 16 June 2019 In particular, Scheyd points to hole No. 2 as one that sets up nicely for left-handed players. Kevin Vellturo, courant.com, "Does the Travelers Championship course set up better for left-handed players?," 14 June 2019 Sylvie Rosokoff Shahd Faisal Khidir cannot be easily pigeon-holed into a stereotype. Daisy Melamed Sanders, Marie Claire, "How Hijabi Blogger Shahd Faisal Khidir Silences Nastiness From Trolls," 6 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hole

Statistics for hole

Last Updated

22 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hole

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hole

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hole

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hole

Spanish Central: Translation of hole

Nglish: Translation of hole for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hole for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hole

Comments on hole

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


miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!