\ 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 If YouTube’s comment-moderation systems were nudged into the automated deletion of anti-CCP phrases, despite the application of the highest tech, similar holes will surely pop up in future. The Economist, "A YouTube mystery Google’s removal of anti-Beijing comments raises political eyebrows," 30 May 2020 The top two reasons for that — also from the 2017 recruiting class — are gone, leaving Grand Canyon-wide holes. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Baron Browning’s position change could make him Ohio State football’s most dangerous pass-rusher: Buckeye Take," 29 May 2020 Leaving the Paddles in the Machine as the Bread Bakes Hate those holes in the bottom of your bread? Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, "7 Bread Machine Mistakes You’ll Never Make Again," 29 May 2020 Burson, visiting from Galveston, chose to celebrate with a couple of friends that night at College Station’s most celebrated watering hole. Brent Zwerneman, ExpressNews.com, "The Dixie Chicken, busted roof and all, is a Texas A&M institution," 28 May 2020 Preliminary estimates predict jaw-dropping state budget holes that some education funding experts warn could cost in the range of 300,000 teaching jobs. Erin Richards, USA TODAY, "'Going to see massive cuts': Without more coronavirus relief, schools slash budgets, prep layoffs," 28 May 2020 One of Anchorage’s most exciting fishing holes is set in one of the city’s most popular hospitality hot spots — downtown. Josh Niva, Anchorage Daily News, "Casting call: Urban and remote Alaska are where fishing dreams come true," 28 May 2020 But when small holes appear in the cloud, parties of hunters rocket down and compete against each other in a sci-fi gold rush. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "Amazon's Crucible Magicks Gaming Clichés Into Something Fresh," 27 May 2020 To build it, workers drilled 86 holes in the ice, each 1.5 miles deep, and spread a network of 5,160 light sensors over a grid of 1 cubic kilometer. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Scientists didn't detect a parallel universe in Antarctica. But they are learning more about mysterious, ghostly neutrinos," 27 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 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

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 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hole. Accessed 3 Jun. 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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