hollow

noun
hol·​low | \ˈhä-(ˌ)lō \

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 \; hollowest\ ˈhä-​lə-​wəst \

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 , -​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

Most frequently, these temperatures, colder than the average temperature on Mars (around minus 60 Celsius), were observed in dips and hollows near the top of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "The planet’s most frigid region is even colder than scientists thought," 26 June 2018 The big new, seated, and somewhat worried looking, Quetzalcoatlus out front — another new star, as children climb into the hollow between its legs, wings and body — and the T. rex outline on the walls help. Steve Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "With a skeleton and megaplanters, the Field Museum fleshes out its main hall," 26 June 2018 Scambos’s team looked through several years of satellite data to find times and places when the temperature dipped even lower, which usually occurred in almost imperceptible dips and hollows in the ice. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Just Measured the Coldest Place on Earth," 30 June 2018 The coldest spots were in shallow depressions in the ice, little hollows where the surface isn’t perfectly smooth. National Geographic, "Coldest Place on Earth Found—Here's How," 27 June 2018 This very low-temperature air allows the snow in these hollows to radiate even more heat, allowing for the extraordinarily low ground temperature. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Scientists Record Earth's Lowest Temperature Ever. Here's How Cold It Got," 26 June 2018 Remarkably, the lowest temperatures observed at all of these hollows on the ice sheet was right around minus 98 Celsius, even though some of them were spaced tens of miles apart. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "The planet’s most frigid region is even colder than scientists thought," 26 June 2018 To do so, start by sucking in your cheeks to find out where the hollows of your face are. Devon Abelman, Allure, "How to Contour for Your Face Shape," 13 June 2018 All the classic elements of a traditional links course are here: pot bunkers, tees adjacent to greens, tall fescue, berms, hollows and bedeviling greens that range from microscopic to a massive double green. Detroit Free Press, "Ranking Michigan's top 10 vacation golf courses," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through, or until the loaves are nicely colored and sound hollow when tapped. Daniel Neman, sacbee, "Artistry, flavor blends are marks of Moroccan," 10 July 2018 Remove the lid and continue baking for 10 minutes more, or until the top is well browned and the dough sounds hollow when tapped with your knuckles on the bottom. Sheryl Julian, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipe: Irish cooks came to this country knowing how to make brown bread with their eyes closed," 28 June 2018 The words weren’t meant to sound hollow; they were meant to stifle the idea that the Royals would rip their major-league roster for parts without sound logic. Maria Torres, kansascity, "Royals close HDH era, send Kelvin Herrera to Nationals for three minor-league prospects," 18 June 2018 Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Leah Napoliello, Houston Chronicle, "BBB on Homes: Move quickly against ‘silent destroyers’," 20 May 2018 Waters' successful appeal of his civil commitment is somewhat of a hollow victory. Aimee Green, OregonLive.com, "Death threat to Gov. Kate Brown shouldn't have spurred man's commitment, court rules," 9 May 2018 Its jaws swing open; the fangs, each an inch of needle-sharp, hollow bone, unhinge from the roof of its mouth. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "A Rattle with Death in Yosemite," 20 June 2018 Somehow, the cheers then that soon turned hollow are affecting how some feel about Mayfield, based only on a height comparison and vague notions of impropriety. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland.com, "Comparing Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward to Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert is an insult: Doug Lesmerises," 27 Apr. 2018 The club built a large (90 feet high) and small (12 feet) ski jump on the crest of the hollow. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Olympic speed skating and ski jumping both have roots Oconomowoc," 20 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Halve cucumbers lengthwise and use melon baller to hollow out. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Chunky Buffalo Blue Dip," 21 June 2018 Nigeria’s army, hollowed out by corruption, was in disarray. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 With the Antonio Conte sized hole to be almost ready to be hollowed out, the club are yet again on the lookout for a new man to throw into the notoriously ruthless West London machine. SI.com, "Why Pochettino Should Switch Make the Controversial Switch From Spurs to Chelsea This Summer," 17 May 2018 Above the church, cliffs, hollowed out like a beehive, served as Incan grain silos. Finn-olaf Jones, WSJ, "A Surprisingly Kid-Friendly Vacation to Peru’s Sacred Valley," 7 June 2018 To the east lies the Reichstag building, hollowed out by fire in 1933 in an act of arson the Nazis used as a pretext to cement Adolf Hitler’s hold on power. Alan Crawford, Bloomberg.com, "As Merkel’s Power Drains, the Threat to Europe Grows," 27 June 2018 Soros’s aim, according to Orbán, is to undermine the soul of European Christian society — to hollow out the West from the inside out. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Hungary just passed a “Stop Soros” law that makes it illegal to help undocumented migrants," 22 June 2018 Apple's press release also makes glancing reference to local news, which has been particularly hollowed out in the digital era. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "Apple Tries to Avoid Facebook's Mistakes With 2018 Midterms," 26 June 2018 If the leader of the African National Congress, his relatives and his influential associates could dodge their tax duties, the rest of the country might shirk them, too, hollowing out the government’s ability to function at the most basic level. New York Times, "Corruption Gutted South Africa’s Tax Agency. Now the Nation Is Paying the Price.," 10 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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

10 Nov 2018

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 \
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) \

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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Comments on hollow

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