\ 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 Researchers off the Bahamas have gone underwater to take core samples from ethereal submarine sinkholes, called blue holes, writes Robin George Andrews. National Geographic, "Why focus on Jupiter?," 13 Nov. 2019 With Week 5 off, Miami started its Oct. 5 home game against Virginia Tech in a 28-0 hole before coming back to tie but losing, 42-35. David Furones, sun-sentinel.com, "Here’s why Miami can avoid bye week blues; Manny Diaz to discuss NFL draft options with Hurricanes juniors," 12 Nov. 2019 The trouble is that, including the cost of drilling a bore hole, installing a geothermal system would run $30,000, compared with something like $4,000 to just throw in new gas furnace. Livia Gershon, Longreads, "Power Up," 12 Nov. 2019 The neutral-zone penalty by Shilique Calhoun on a Ravens field goal attempt put the Patriots in an early hole. BostonGlobe.com, "Defensive film study: The Ravens made the Patriots uncomfortable all night, and it showed," 7 Nov. 2019 On its ensuing possession, the Bruins marched 80 yards in 11 plays, with Joshua Kelley’s 5-yard touchdown run capping the drive and putting CU in a 24-7 hole with 4:11 to play in the third quarter. Brian Howell, The Denver Post, "CU Buffs fall to UCLA as losing streak hits five," 2 Nov. 2019 The puncture holes made when stitching the garment let rain in, while the rubber got hard in the cold and sticky in the heat. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "The North Face’s new fabric is the latest attempt in an endless struggle to stay dry," 31 Oct. 2019 His early turnovers in each game put Michigan in a big hole. Chris Wassel, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Notre Dame @ Michigan odds, picks and best bets," 24 Oct. 2019 Houston’s star pitcher had put his team in an early hole — no doubt about that now. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Verlander can’t close out Yanks; ALCS heads back to Houston," 18 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Look closely for the best detail: multicolored thread that decorates the button holes down the front, packing a tiny dose of color. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Pajama Sets, Whether You're Traveling With Your In-Laws or College Roommates," 5 Sep. 2019 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

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

17 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hole.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holing. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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