hollow

noun
hol·​low | \ ˈhä-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce hollow (audio) \

Definition of hollow

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : an unfilled space : cavity, hole in the hollow of a tree
2 : a depressed or low part of a surface especially : a small valley or basin

hollow

adjective
hollower\ ˈhä-​lə-​wər How to pronounce hollower (audio) \; hollowest\ ˈhä-​lə-​wəst How to pronounce hollowest (audio) \

Definition of hollow (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : having an indentation or inward curve : concave, sunken hollow cheeks
2 : having an unfilled or hollowed-out space within a hollow tree
3 : lacking in real value, sincerity, or substance : false, meaningless hollow promises a victory over a weakling is hollow and without triumph— Ernest Beaglehole
4 : reverberating like a sound made in or by beating on a large empty enclosure : muffled heard a hollow sound when he knocked on the wall

hollow

verb
hollowed; hollowing; hollows

Definition of hollow (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to remove the inside of : to make hollow (see hollow entry 2) a hollowed tree hollowing out pumpkins for Halloween
2 : to form by removing the inside of something : to form by making something hollow usually used with out rain barrels hollowed out from trees— Robert Shaplenhollowing out a tunnel

intransitive verb

: to become hollow his cheeks had hollowed

hollow

adverb

Definition of hollow (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : so as to have a hollow (see hollow entry 2 sense 4) sound The sound echoed hollow in the cave. : in a way that reflects a lack of real value, sincerity, or substance Their threats rang hollow.
2 : completely, thoroughly an ongoing story that has the old cowboy-and-Indians genre beat hollow— Barbara Bannon often used with all

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Other Words from hollow

Adjective

hollowly \ ˈhä-​lō-​lē How to pronounce hollowly (audio) , -​lə-​lē \ adverb
hollowness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for hollow

Adjective

vain, nugatory, otiose, idle, empty, hollow mean being without worth or significance. vain implies either absolute or relative absence of value. vain promises nugatory suggests triviality or insignificance. a monarch with nugatory powers otiose suggests that something serves no purpose and is either an encumbrance or a superfluity. a film without a single otiose scene idle suggests being incapable of worthwhile use or effect. idle speculations empty and hollow suggest a deceiving lack of real substance or soundness or genuineness. an empty attempt at reconciliation a hollow victory

Examples of hollow in a Sentence

Noun

The owls nested in the hollow of a tree. made a little hollow in her mound of mashed potatoes and filled it with gravy

Adjective

There was a hollow spot in the field. there's a noticeably hollow spot in the mattress where he has been sleeping

Verb

They hollowed the log to make a canoe.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Country came not from the affluent and the accepted, but from the fringes of America–from the hills and hollows, from Sunday morning and Saturday night, from barrios and blues clubs. Jon Meacham, Time, "Country Music Should Be Political. After All, It Always Has Been," 15 Aug. 2019 If your dark circles aren't the result of shadows caused by hollows under your eye, filler might not solve the problem. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need to Know About Under Eye Filler for Dark Circles," 14 Aug. 2019 Nestled in the coastal hollow between Tampa and St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Fla., is known as a family vacation destination. Judy Berman, Time, "Florida Girls Is the Most Fun You'll Have in Front of the TV This Summer," 9 July 2019 Some subglacial lakes form when pressure from above or geothermal hot spots from below melt portions of the ice, others when meltwater trickles down from above through holes known as moulins to pool in hollows under the ice. NBC News, "Dozens of lakes discovered deep under the Greenland Ice Sheet," 29 June 2019 Snap some pics with Auckland’s skyline or suburbs in the background, or stare down at the huge emerald hollow. Andrea Bartz, Marie Claire, "The Instagram Guide to Auckland, New Zealand," 11 Feb. 2019 During a family gathering there, one of the children finds a frightening memento mori: a skull wedged into the hollow of an old elm tree in the garden. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: A Case of Mistaken Identity," 11 Oct. 2018 They can be used to plump lips, minimize wrinkles and scars, smooth under-eye hollows, and contour cheeks, temples, noses, and jaw lines. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 2018 In the same place where contour powder would go to make those hollows recede, blush brings attention to Khaliha's cheekbones by grabbing attention instead, softening and enhancing her bone structure without exaggerating her angles. Michelle Sulcov, Glamour, "These Before-and-After Photos Show What a Difference Blush Can Make," 31 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

My body was hollow, the emptiness lit by spark, my heart echoing in a great cavern. Chris Rush, Harper's magazine, "Love and Acid," 19 Aug. 2019 But that wasn't enough for some Democrats and residents in the El Paso area who say the president's comments ring hollow in light of his past rhetoric and responses at rallies. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Trump traveling to Dayton and El Paso after weekend mass shootings," 7 Aug. 2019 But calls for the end of LGBTQ activism ring hollow to those of us who still hold marginalized identities within the community. Katelyn Burns, Vox, "The LGBTQ civil rights fight is far from over," 17 July 2019 Subjects have run the gamut from the very plausible (intelligence failures around 9/11) to gleefully nutty (the moon is secretly hollow) to the sad and sordid (Jeffrey Epstein and the history of pedophiles in government). Los Angeles Times, "In the Trump era, a comedy podcast about conspiracy theories finds a home in the mainstream," 19 July 2019 The new Iron Sky film posits that the Earth is hollow and home to the Vril, a race of shapeshifting immortal aliens who have been living in the planet’s core since the time of the dinosaurs. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "In the sci-fi spoof Iron Sky: The Coming Race, Alien Hitler rides a T-Rex to war," 17 July 2019 As the memory of conscription, mass mobilization, and total war fades, so too do the truly violent political passions of the twentieth century. Both the threat of fascism and the mobilizing slogans of antifascism are hollow, Runciman suggests. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "Democracy and Its Discontents," 6 June 2019 The two figures each have only one arm, and the backs of their heads are hollow. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "What $150,000 Buys in California: Five Bathtubs Perched on Giant Stilts," 27 Jan. 2019 The book is hollow and calculated, but carries a glittery, sinister appeal — The Bold Type by way of YOU, a dizzying New York fantasy that morphs into a nightmare. David Canfield, EW.com, "The millennial scammer is alive and well in these fascinating new books," 24 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For their decades of junior partnership in a movement based on false ideas about human nature, the post-liberals hold up a dismal tally: A hollowed-out culture. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "Is Josh Hawley For Real?," 25 July 2019 Inert villages slipped by, hollowed out by urban migration. Paul Salopek, The New Yorker, "Walking the Path of the Buddha in a Neglected Corner of India," 9 Aug. 2019 Even before Mr Modi came to power, other governments had been hollowing out the provisions of Article 370. The Economist, "India abruptly ends the last special protection enjoyed by Kashmir," 6 Aug. 2019 Cultivation will likely pivot south, hollowing out growers in colder states like New York. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Cannabis Investors Are Zoning Out About Supply," 27 June 2019 By his impact, the picture of his game is more complicated; there are costs to much of what Randle brings to the table, which hollows out his numbers a bit in the process. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "NBA Free Agency 2019: Top 50 Players Available," 24 June 2019 The risk that Lee will continue hollowing out the World-Herald— with Buffett’s approval, tacit or otherwise — is great. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "How Warren Buffett, who says the news business is ‘toast,’ tried to kill my first paper," 4 June 2019 European hornets, which were introduced to North America through the port of New York around 1848 and slowly spread across the eastern half of the United States, prefer hollowed out trees for their nests. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al.com, "It’s Alabama’s stinging season: How to identify yellow jacket, hornet and bees’ nests," 1 July 2019 Their shells are embroidered on costumes, hollowed out and made into rattles, or used as the body of guitars. Rachel Fobar, National Geographic, "Endangered armadillos are being turned into carnival rattles," 22 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

But the call for peace rings hollow today when the past and future so miss the mark. Lucy Dacus, New York Times, "Woodstock, a Utopia? Not for Every Generation," 6 Aug. 2019 Despite all the runs and belting that Khalid can do, his voice rings hollow, an untethered reverberation against slick, genre-melding production. Washington Post, "Khalid’s hits play better on Spotify than at Capital One Arena," 5 Aug. 2019 The command rings hollow as a packaging slogan, but Smith lays it out there as a pointed provocation, part of the show's larger assertion that acts of nurture and nationhood, art and humanity are profoundly linked. Leah Ollman, latimes.com, "In Shinique Smith's 'Refuge,' bits of past make for a compelling present," 3 July 2018 The idea that these laws are intended to make women and children safer rings hollow. Willie Parker, Glamour, "Dr. Willie Parker: The South is 'Ground Zero' in the Abortion-Access Fight," 5 Apr. 2018 And some say his compassion for those affected by Harvey rings hollow given his lack of support for addressing climate change, which many see as exacerbating such major disasters. Linda Feldmann, The Christian Science Monitor, "Harvey tests Trump on leadership – and on policy," 30 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hollow.' 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 hollow

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adverb

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hollow

Noun

Middle English holgh, holough "hole, burrow, hollow of the hand," going back to Old English holh "cavity, hole," going back to *hulha-, probably extended form of Germanic *hula- "hollow, sunken" — more at hole entry 1

Adjective

Middle English holgh, holugh, holwe, formally identical with holgh hollow entry 1, with adjectival meaning apparently after hol, holle "hollow, sunken," going back to Old English hol — more at hole entry 1

Verb

Middle English holowghen, holowen, holwen, derivative of holgh, holwe hollow entry 2

Adverb

derivative of hollow entry 2

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Statistics for hollow

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hollow

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

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More Definitions for hollow

hollow

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hollow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a place or area (especially on the ground) that is lower than the area around it
: an empty space inside of something

hollow

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of hollow (Entry 2 of 3)

: having nothing inside : not solid
: curved inward or down
: not having real value or meaning

hollow

verb

English Language Learners Definition of hollow (Entry 3 of 3)

: to remove the inside of (something)

hollow

adjective
hol·​low | \ ˈhä-lō How to pronounce hollow (audio) \
hollower; hollowest

Kids Definition of hollow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : having a space inside : not solid a hollow chocolate egg
2 : curved inward : sunken hollow cheeks
3 : suggesting a sound made in an empty place a hollow roar
4 : not sincere a hollow promise

Other Words from hollow

hollowly adverb

hollow

noun

Kids Definition of hollow (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a low spot in a surface Circling around through the flats, I came to the hollow above the Pritchards' place.— Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows
2 : a small valley
3 : an empty space within something Owls live in the hollow of the tree.

hollow

verb
hollowed; hollowing

Kids Definition of hollow (Entry 3 of 3)

: to make or become hollow The canoe was made by hollowing out a log.

hollow

noun
hol·​low | \ ˈhäl-(ˌ)ō, -ə(-w) How to pronounce hollow (audio) \

Medical Definition of hollow

: a depressed part of a surface or a concavity the hollow at the back of the knee

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More from Merriam-Webster on hollow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hollow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hollow

Spanish Central: Translation of hollow

Nglish: Translation of hollow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hollow for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hollow

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