\ 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


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Her father cycled through different jobs, said Finkenauer, who remembers his T-shirts and sweatshirts dotted with holes from his welding torch. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "She made history with AOC but Congress' second-youngest woman, Abby Finkenauer, is her own Democrat," 26 Aug. 2019 The pumice, which is filled with holes and cavities, floats like an iceberg does, with about 90% underwater and 10% underwater, the pair explained. Kara Fox And Jessie Yeung, CNN, "A giant pumice stone floating in the Pacific could help heal Australia's Great Barrier Reef," 25 Aug. 2019 Footage taken by the KXAS-TV (NBC5) helicopter showed a white sedan with several bullet holes in the driver's side window stopped in an apartment complex parking lot. Dallas News, "2 injured in shooting that prompted lockout at Euless elementary school, police say," 20 Aug. 2019 Cantlay made his fourth straight birdie, and the lead was down to two with eight holes remaining. Doug Ferguson, BostonGlobe.com, "Justin Thomas hangs on at BMW, grabs FedEx Cup lead," 19 Aug. 2019 Unfortunately, the script is a dull, plodding mess, with gaping plot holes and almost laughably over-earnest dialogue. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Fight scenes are the only bright spot in grim, joyless Wu Assassins," 19 Aug. 2019 Cantlay made his fourth straight birdie, and the lead was down to two with eight holes remaining. Doug Ferguson, Houston Chronicle, "Justin Thomas holds on to win BMW Championship," 18 Aug. 2019 At over 7,600 yards Medinah is long and strong, with two holes measuring over 600 yards. Ryan Asselta, SI.com, "Picks and Daily Fantasy Plays for the BMW Championship," 14 Aug. 2019 Delivered to your inbox on Wednesday and Friday If feasible, fence your garden area using fencing with the smallest holes possible, keeping in mind that rats can fit through an opening the size of a quarter. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Are there non-lethal ways of controlling Bay Area’s rat population?," 9 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.

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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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Statistics for hole

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hole

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

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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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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

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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