1 of 2


: an opening through something : perforation
The coat has a hole in it.
a bullet hole
: an area where something is missing
His mother's death left a hole in his life.
: gap: such as
: a serious discrepancy : flaw, weakness
some holes in your logic
: 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
: 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
: a hollowed-out place
a hole in an apple
: such as
: a cave, pit, or well in the ground
dug a large hole with a steam shovel
: burrow
a rabbit hole
: an unusually deep place in a body of water (such as a river)
: a wretched or dreary place
How could anyone live in such a hole?
: a prison cell especially for solitary confinement
threw him in the hole for two days
golf : a shallow cylindrical hole or hollowed-out place in the putting green of a golf course into which the ball is played
: 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
: an awkward position or circumstance : fix
got the rebels out of a hole at the battleKenneth Roberts
: a position of owing or losing money
$10 million in the hole
raising money to get out of the hole


2 of 2


holed; holing

transitive verb

: 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.
: 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
in the hole
: having a score below zero
: at a disadvantage

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
Despite the lineup of exciting new, smaller brands that the city is known for, Lauren's post-pandemic absence has left a hole in the New York calendar. Tara Gonzalez, Harper's BAZAAR, 9 Sep. 2023 The front had a gaping hole from apparent bite marks. Antonia Debianchi, Peoplemag, 8 Sep. 2023 There’s a car-sized hole in recent e-bike safety concerns Earlier this summer, Brodee Champlain Kingman, a 15-year-old, was hit and killed by a driver while riding an e-bike in the city of Encinitas. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep. 2023 Running back Jawhar Jordan found a hole on the left side of the field and took off for a 72-yard touchdown to cap off a two-play, 80-yard drive. Alexis Cubit, The Courier-Journal, 8 Sep. 2023 During a livestream of the Seascape Alaska 5 expedition, which aims to map, explore, and characterize deep water habitats in unexplored regions off Alaska, the researchers manning the underwater robot caught a glimpse of a shiny golden orb, complete with a hole. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 7 Sep. 2023 The building’s roof is pocked with gaping holes, and insulation hangs down into hallways. Becca Savransky, ProPublica, 6 Sep. 2023 Well, in addition to the Yellowstone of it all, Paramount execs treated 1883’s linear run as a major summer event rather than an emergency effort to plug a schedule hole (Star Trek: Discovery) or a quickie ploy to promote a streaming platform (Ms. Marvel). Vulture, 6 Sep. 2023 Related: After rollout, Mass. police watchdog agency acknowledges holes, possible errors in disciplinary database Take, for example, Bigda’s most high-profile misstep — a February 2016 incident that sparked a federal indictment. Hanna Krueger, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Sep. 2023
Lee hit wedge to 7 feet and holed the par putt to join Hull at 16-under 272 and force a playoff. Associated Press, BostonGlobe.com, 10 Sep. 2023 The limited-time Fantasy Feast ($249.99) feeds up to 12 guests with six dozen jumbo chicken wings, three racks of St. Louis-style ribs, sides, garlic bread, and two dozen cinnamon sugar donut holes. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2023 And because making the vent holes smaller threw off the HVAC system, that then had to be reconfigured. Kelly Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 July 2023 Other shows to recently get memory holed by Disney+ include the Willow series, Earth to Ned, and the 2020 version of Black Beauty. Vulture, 5 July 2023 Fleetwood made three birdies in four holes around the turn before making an eagle on the par-5 14th, hitting his second shot 276 yards onto the green and holing a 20-foot putt. Greg Beacham, ajc, 18 June 2023 Save room for snacks too: the donut holes with miso caramel dipping sauce are a delightful sweet side to an after-dinner drink. Alyssa Bailey, ELLE, 29 June 2023 When Nick Taylor holed a 72-foot putt for an eagle to win the Canadian Open in a playoff Sunday afternoon, nobody was more surprised than Adam Hadwin. oregonlive, 12 June 2023 Back to the 18th in the playoff, Hovland barely got onto the front of the green, some 60 feet away from the back pin, and two-putted by holing a seven-foot par putt. Tom Canavan, Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hole.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near hole

Cite this Entry

“Hole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hole. Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: an opening into or through a thing
: a hollow place (as a pit or cave)
: a deep place in a body of water
trout holes
: an underground habitation : burrow
: flaw, fault
: the shallow cup into which the ball is played in golf
: a part of a golf course from the tee to the putting green
: a shabby or dingy place
: an awkward position : fix
hole verb

More from Merriam-Webster on hole

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