\ 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 More baby news: Houston Zoo welcomes baby red-tailed monkey named 'Peter Rabbit' Zoo staff performed an emergency 30-minute surgery to stop the bleeding and close the hole in the calf’s abdomen. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Zoo welcomes new baby elephant named Nelson," 14 May 2020 Its adept mix of cryptanalysis, reverse engineering, and exploit development punches a major hole in defenses that Thunderbolt creator Intel spent considerable time and resources to erect. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Thunderspy: What it is, why it’s not scary, and what to do about it," 12 May 2020 The bright spots represent Jupiter's internal heat escaping through holes in the planet's massive cloud cover. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "New images reveal the heart of Jupiter's storms and the planet's jack-o-lantern glow," 9 May 2020 In the wake of the pandemic, California’s government faces a $54.3-billion budget deficit through next summer, the largest projected fiscal hole in state history. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Going through phases," 9 May 2020 Great chicken sandwiches were served through little holes in windows, or not at all. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al, "The (Coronavirus) War Prayer," 6 May 2020 As the ball goes through a hole, a light lights up on a board and the ball comes back to the person. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "Thanks for the memories, Cedar Point: Readers recall their favorite park moments," 3 May 2020 There has been a fad for growing tomatoes upside down through a hole in a hanging pot. Pam Peirce, SFChronicle.com, "Grow a crop of shelter-in-place tomatoes right now," 14 Apr. 2020 Photographer William Dickinson shot moving images on typical 35mm film for use in a kinetoscope, which was like a projector, but viewers had to watch moving images through a small hole in the machine itself. Stan Horaczek, Popular Science, "Quibi is the next step in vertical video’s inevitable rise," 7 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The Canadian holed a bunker shot for eagle that carried him to a five-shot lead at the turn. Scott Bell, Dallas News, "Jordan Spieth’s best Sunday round since 2018 Masters earns him top-10 finish at Pebble Beach, spot in world top 50," 10 Feb. 2020 Community workers are checking the fever status of people holed in neighborhoods, while officials will decide whether people will remain quarantined at home or be sent to quarantine camps, Xinhua said. Jane Li, Quartz, "Chinese cities try to flush out coronavirus patients by stopping cough medicine sales," 9 Feb. 2020 Matsuyama holed a 25-foot birdie on the 17th for a 1-up lead with C.T. Pan, leading to the final victory of the session over Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson. Doug Ferguson, The Denver Post, "U.S. team in foreign territory trailing at Presidents Cup after Day 1," 11 Dec. 2019 Having been trounced, Democrats will quickly memory-hole their proclamations of imminent victory in Texas. Karl Rove, WSJ, "Texas Is About to Go Blue! Never Mind," 29 Jan. 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

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hole. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for hole


How to pronounce hole (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on hole

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hole

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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