\ˈhōl \

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

Germany said Greece should fill the €28 million budget hole with other spending cuts, mainly from its defense budget. Nektaria Stamouli, WSJ, "Germany Delays Greece’s Final Bailout Payment," 12 July 2018 The holes Donald Trump kicked in the rusty northern bit of that wall, and his coupling of an electoral-college win with a popular-vote defeat, has understandably dampened Republican enthusiasm. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 If timed correctly, ventilating a building by opening doors, breaking windows and cutting holes in the roof can improve visibility. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "In a tragic loop, firefighters continue to die from preventable mistakes," 13 July 2018 City commissioners said that if the city manager can’t find $5 million to cut from the city’s general fund, Fort Lauderdale residents could pay about an extra $14 for every $100,000 of taxable property value to make up the hole in the budget. Meryl Kornfield, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Fort Lauderdale may raise property taxes for first time in 12 years," 13 July 2018 But in recent decades, new evidence has begun to punch holes in that timeline. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Oldest Stone Tools Outside Africa Unearthed in China," 12 July 2018 The 15-year-old nailed a hole-in-one, his first-ever, on the Par 3 No. 3 at the Dallas Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, the first and only NFL-themed golf club in the world. William Wilkerson, star-telegram, "Local 15-year-old accomplishes amazing feat on golf course," 12 July 2018 The three hours of listening to commissioners poke holes and ask questions raise scruitiny over his group’s plan probably didn’t feel good, though. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "David Beckham’s saw first-hand the mixed emotions about his proposed Miami MLS plan," 12 July 2018 Rescuers are currently grappling with a range of escape options including scuba-diving the team through the narrow, waterlogged passages and drilling a hole in the roof of the chamber and somehow hoisting them out. NBC News, "Thailand soccer team rescue: Conditions now 'most suitable' but monsoon threatens," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Day holed a 6-foot birdie putt in the dark on the fifth hole of a sudden-death playoff Sunday. USA TODAY, "Jason Day, Alex Noren need another day to decide winner at Torrey Pines," 28 Jan. 2018 DeChambeau, the Tour’s admitted science nerd, is lurking as is 21-year old Aaron Wise, who showed his tenacity by holing a chip shot on the final hole a moment after a swing and miss from thick rough beside the green. Ron Green Jr., charlotteobserver, "‘Strap on.’ Storylines, course are set up for a gripping final round at Quail Hollow | Charlotte Observer," 5 May 2018 Johnson holed medium-length putts for birdies, a few nervy, short putts for par and picked up a bonus when his shot from a front bunker on the par-4 eighth rattled and rolled into the cup. Doug Ferguson, chicagotribune.com, "Dustin Johnson shares lead with three others in a U.S. Open that plays like one," 14 June 2018 On 17, a par-5, Squires barely missed holing a chip from off the green. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "Mariemont grad Will Grimmer continues hot summer with Met golf championship," 1 July 2018 Been more confident with it and holed some more putts. Christopher Hanna, courant.com, "J.B. Holmes' Back Nine Play Propels Him To Travelers Championship Contention," 24 June 2018 How To Watch SUNDAY Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET TV Channel: CBS Sports Time: 2 to 7 p.m. ET TV Channel: CBS Stream: Masters.com has live coverage of featured groups, Amen Corner (11-13), holes 15 and 16 and a simulcast of the CBS broadcast. Jenna West, SI.com, "How to Watch the 2018 Masters: Fourth Round Live Streams, TV Channel," 7 Apr. 2018 Spieth opened up at 3-over par in his first two holes, but holed the only birdie of the group through nine holes at the 18th. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "6 U.S. Open favorites who got off to awful starts on Thursday," 14 June 2018 In the final round of the 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic, Dustin Johnson holes a 169-yard approach shot for eagle on the par-4 18th hole. Shaun Goodwin, kansascity, "Tom Watson finishes one stroke back to KU golfer in Watson Challenge," 10 June 2018

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

6 Oct 2018

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 \

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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