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

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 Unlike Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, who soared to success in the late 1960s with confessional hardship songs from the hills and hollows, Ms. Gentry’s two-steppers revealed little about her. Marc Myers, WSJ, "‘Bobbie Gentry: The Girl From Chickasaw County—The Complete Capitol Masters’ Review: A Country Talent, Fully Recognized," 25 Sep. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Self-Realization Lake Shrine, perched in a little hollow at the terminus of Sunset Boulevard just above the Pacific Ocean, is the bizarre, transportive sanctuary dreamed up by Paramahansa Yogananda and opened in 1950. Reif Larsen, The Seattle Times, "LA Reverential: A City’s Chill Spots," 1 Aug. 2018 Players — typically teams of two — stalk a court about half the size of a tennis court, using flat, lightweight paddles to hit a hollow ball punctured with holes. Kate Elizabeth Queram, Howard County Times, "Pickleball: the little sport that could," 4 Apr. 2018 The hollow is rich and generative, a lacuna of a kind Ball has mastered. Ellie Robins, latimes.com, "Jesse Ball's 'Census' is an understated tale of a father and son taking stock of America," 9 Mar. 2018 According to a preliminary report issued by the Accident Investigation Board of Norway, Ingstad suffered heavy flooding after water gushed through the hollow propeller shafts into otherwise secured parts of the ship. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch Underwater Footage from Helge Ingstad—Norway’s Newest Submarine," 19 Dec. 2018 That story stuck a hollow romance and rushed emotional development onto its leads, and its cheap-looking CGI sequences didn't help. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Wreck-It Ralph 2 review: Everything we wish Ready Player One had been," 21 Nov. 2018 The celebrity favorite gold hollow hoops will also be $50. Glamour, "Black Friday Deals 2018: Everything We Know So Far," 12 Nov. 2018 The main home’s Spanish Eclectic design was constructed in 1925 using stucco over a hollow clay tile with 156 feet of water frontage on Dona Bay. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Waterfront estate asks $2.4M in Florida," 9 Oct. 2018 Sharp sounds near me (such as my fingers snapping) came through clearly, and a nearby speaker’s voice came across as a bit hollow. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Hands-on with Microsoft's Surface Headphones: tune out the outside world to focus," 3 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The idea is to hollow out armored troop carriers to hold more than a thousand gallons of water. Steven Levy, WIRED, "Inside Palmer Luckey’s Bid to Build A Border Wall," 11 June 2018 The rise of e-commerce and big-box retailing has hollowed out villages, forcing people to make longer commutes, often to jobs in urban areas. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "France’s Macron, Astride the Globe, Overlooked Swelling Anger at Home," 7 Dec. 2018 Deindustrialization and disinvestment hollowed out the city. Parul Sehgal, New York Times, "Toxic History, Poisoned Water: The Story of Flint," 3 July 2018 Using techniques such as process hollowing to conceal malicious code within an existing system process to evade detection, Windows Management Instrumentation, and other alternatives to PowerShell to conceal activity on Windows systems. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "New data shows China has “taken the gloves off” in hacking attacks on US," 1 Nov. 2018 In Ireland, people would carry candles in hollowed out turnips, carved with grotesque faces—a precursor of the jack-o’-lantern. Regina Hansen, WSJ, "The Multicultural Past of Our Commercial Halloween," 26 Oct. 2018 The collapse of the oil price in the 1980s and 1990s weakened a stable social democracy, hollowing out its welfare state, causing bank failures and exposing corruption. The Economist, "The price of electing saviours in Latin America," 27 June 2018 The first movement built up an ever-lengthening litany of requirements for the young Harriet’s family to not be separated, and the sparkle in Pullum’s voice hollowed with each repetition. Zoë Madonna, BostonGlobe.com, "Castle of our Skins celebrates music of black women," 28 May 2018 Halve cucumbers lengthwise and use melon baller to hollow out. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Chunky Buffalo Blue Dip," 21 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

6 Jan 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 \
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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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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