\ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As someone who was so excited to see Six: The Musical, which is a rock pop musical about Henry the VIII's wives, which was supposed to open the day that Broadway closed, this is filling that hole for me. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Books We Can’t Stop Talking About Right Now: Women Who Travel Podcast," 28 Apr. 2021 Ultimately, the Louisville native could breathe a sigh of relief as Florida Derby winner Known Agenda drew the No. 1 hole. Jason Frakes, USA TODAY, "Winners and losers from Kentucky Derby post-position draw," 28 Apr. 2021 Think of the achievement gap as a giant hole with thousands of students stuck in it. oregonlive, "Max Margolis’s full response to The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Portland school board candidate questionnaire," 28 Apr. 2021 In the end, the parking lot is an anomalous hole on a questionable edge. New York Times, "A Billion-Dollar Battle Over a Parking Lot at the Seaport," 27 Apr. 2021 Ultimately, the Louisville native could breathe a sigh of relief as Florida Derby winner Known Agenda drew the No. 1 hole. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Winners and losers from Tuesday's draw for the Kentucky Derby," 27 Apr. 2021 Most tree-planting efforts focus on digging a hole and putting a seedling in the ground, but the work doesn’t stop there. Karen D. Holl, The Conversation, "Arbor Day should be about growing trees, not just planting them," 27 Apr. 2021 The single bullet hole can be seen from outside her apartment building in the Santa Fe neighborhood. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, "Kansas City journalist dies after being struck by a stray bullet that came through her apartment window," 27 Apr. 2021 Later, the first lady listened some more as a series of speakers held forth for well over an hour in 43-degree weather with 20-mph winds underneath Window Rock, a sacred sandstone mountain with an oval hole worn through it to reveal the sky beyond. Washington Post, "Jill Biden went to Navajo Nation to show the White House is listening to native voices," 27 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Betsy Wentz's Pennsylvania Home Proves There's No Such Thing as Too Much Pattern," 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, "Tom Brady shows he's human as Tiger Woods backs up trash talk at 'Champions for Charity' golf match," 25 May 2020 The two friends appear to have been holed together for the past week. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Kaia Gerber and Tommy Dorfman Are Now on TikTok—in Matching Crop Tops," 19 Mar. 2020 Kobe wasn't playing the toughest defense when Knowles took it to hole for a lay-up. NBC News, "Vanessa Bryant says Gigi had so much more to offer this world," 24 Feb. 2020 Owen Chase gave Melville his climax: As Essex’s boats were harpooning female sperm whales, a huge male, around 85 feet, rushed and holed the 88-foot ship, twice. Carl Safina, New York Times, "Melville’s Whale Was a Warning We Failed to Heed," 2 May 2020 With voters and candidates holed in their own houses because of concerns about the coronavirus, this campaign season has ended quietly with no rallies, no speeches and no door-to-door campaigning. Daniel Bice, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bice: Here’s how dark-money groups flooded Milwaukee mailboxes while keeping their donors secret," 7 Apr. 2020 Xavier trailed 32-23 at the half, its lowest first-half point total of the season, and hole the Musketeers were never fully able to dig themselves out of. Adam Baum, Cincinnati.com, "Butler buzz saw: Xavier's three-game win streak snapped by the No. 19 Bulldogs," 13 Feb. 2020 So rather than waiting to see if the federal, state, and local governments demand it, Americans should take on the onus of holing themselves up at home. Saahil Desai, The Atlantic, "You Should Already Be in Lockdown," 21 Mar. 2020

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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Statistics for hole

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hole. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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 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

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