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 outrain 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 During the Harry Potter craze, children would don their wizard capes and pretend the hollow was a castle or Platform 9 3/4, Mitchell said. Bethany Rodgers, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utahns say goodbye to beloved trees in the windstorm’s aftermath," 13 Sep. 2020 Although the hollow has been portrayed as having less-than-adequate housing — no electricity, plumbing or running water — the DuPauls write that some houses were solid, with several rooms. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "Literary Pick of the Week: ‘The Life of Swede Hollow: a pictorial history’," 7 Dec. 2019 When eider ducks nest in hollows in the ground, the female will pluck down feathers from her own breast to line her nest with a thick natural duvet. Helen Czerski, WSJ, "Eiderdown Is Nature’s Perfect Duvet," 6 Feb. 2020 Zach works as a geology professor—an expert in the remains of various bird species found in a small hollow in the Grand Canyon called Naught’s Cave—and is unenthusiastically married to Sarah’s mother, Meg, a poet. Lidija Haas, Harper's Magazine, "New Books," 27 Apr. 2020 People were murdered, their bodies burned or thrown into hollows in the ground. Elisabeth Åsbrink, Time, "The Holocaust Was an Attempt to Erase Millions of People. Today, the World Must Honor the Evidence That They Existed," 21 Apr. 2020 Named for the creeks and hollows that flow through its heavily wooded terrain, Preston Hollow is approximately 5 miles north of downtown. Dallas News, "Preston Hollow neighborhoods grow in popularity," 22 Mar. 2020 The painting simply depicts a swirling sea of rippling folds and hollows, dramatically lighted and skillfully rendered. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Cleveland Institute of Art’s 74th annual Student Independent Exhibition displays talents on the rise," 1 Mar. 2020 Tens of thousands of years ago, humans sought refuge from the elements in a rocky hollow near the crook of Africa’s western coast. National Geographic, "First ancient genomes from West Africa reveal complexity of human ancestry," 22 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The bronze statue on top is thought to weigh about 900 pounds, but officials don’t know whether the wedding-cake stack of stones forming the pedestal below are solid or hollow, Kilroy said. Washington Post, "Charlottesville prepares to take down Confederate statue near the site of violent Unite the Right rally," 12 Sep. 2020 Some are wrinkled and folded like a brain, others cylindrical and hollow like a chimney. Popular Science, "This giant Gulf of Mexico reef is a conservation success story—here’s why it’s thriving," 8 Sep. 2020 A day of rest and bargain shopping feels particularly hollow as the world burns. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Happy Pandemic Labor Day," 7 Sep. 2020 Replacing a hollow-core door with a solid model will also make a difference. Jamie Gold, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Can home design help you be healthier? San Diegan’s new book lays out how, room by room," 5 Sep. 2020 These are hollow steel beams that are filled with concrete and rebar. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "The Privately Built Border Wall Will Fail, Engineering Report Shows," 3 Sep. 2020 The term—derived from ancient Greek soldiers’ tactic of hiding inside a hollow statue of a horse to sneak into a Trojan stronghold—emerged as a metaphor of choice to underscore Republicans’ critique of Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "Trump Portrays Biden as ‘Trojan Horse’ in Emerging GOP Theme," 28 Aug. 2020 The scientists calculated that a hollow aerographite sphere about 3.3 feet (1 meter) in diameter with a shell 1 micron thick (about 1% the width of an average human hair) would weigh just five millionths of a pound (2.3 milligrams). Charles Q. Choi, Scientific American, "Could Carbon-Foam Probes Sail to Nearby Stars?," 27 Aug. 2020 Nearby residents referred to it as the Keebler tree because of its hollow trunk, and because the shape of the branches and canopy resembled the tree in which elves supposedly bake Keebler cookies. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "No elves seen as Keebler tree is removed from Western Springs corner," 27 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Just hollow out the apples, fill with cider, and drink through cinnamon-stick straws! Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Apple-Cinnamon Cider Cups," 27 Aug. 2020 And as of today, August 20, the clean skin-care brand is giving me one more product to hollow out. Sarah Kinonen, Allure, "Celebrity-Loved Clean Beauty Brand Mara Launches Its First Vitamin C Serum," 20 Aug. 2020 Adding to the list of national and international crises since Donald Trump entered the White House, the nation now stands buffeted by a deadly pandemic threatening to hollow out its fragile economy and a popular uprising over police violence. Mugambi Jouet, The New Republic, "The Trump Cult Is Loyal to an Ideology, Not the Man," 26 June 2020 The ranks of people who identify as independent artists in San Francisco has hollowed by 28% since 2010, according to Toplansky. Carly Stern, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area’s artists are struggling more than ever in coronavirus shutdown," 22 May 2020 The last recession hollowed out the wealth of Americans in every income bracket but the top 10%. Alexander Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "'It's like Groundhog Day': Why the last recession will make this one harder," 2 Apr. 2020 Whatever their circumstances, the deaths threatened to hollow out a resilient family that had struggled against long odds and had great hopes for their children’s success. Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, "The brothers shared a bunk bed growing up in Brooklyn.," 24 Jan. 2020 In New York City, budget officials estimate some $3.2 billion in tax revenue will be lost over the next six months as the virus hollows out entertainment, tourism, hotel and other key sectors of its economy. Ryan Beene, Bloomberg.com, "Cities Reel From Hammer Blows of Sports, Events Going Dark," 8 May 2020 Those in withdrawal have burned through all the classics that networks have aired to mask the dead space: old vintages of the Masters, Wimbledon, the NCAA tournament, all hollowed out, lacking the propulsive drama that stems from uncertainty. Danny Chau, The Atlantic, "Michael Jordan, the NBA’s Savior During the Pandemic," 27 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb That notion rings hollow to Nick Cady, legal director for Cascadia Wildlands, one of the environmental organizations that originally petitioned to protect fishers in Oregon in 2000. oregonlive, "Pacific fisher again denied endangered species protection in Oregon," 19 May 2020 But the Iranian government's tendency to point the finger at Washington, or other malicious foreign actors, for unrest at home is ringing hollow now. Eliza Mackintosh, CNN, "Is this Iran's 'Chernobyl' moment?," 13 Jan. 2020 This argument rings hollow, since college sports already sit on an uneven playing field. Sean Gregory, Time, "How California's Historic NCAA Fair Pay Law Will Change College Sports for the Better," 1 Oct. 2019 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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Time Traveler for hollow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hollow

Last Updated

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hollow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hollow. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for hollow

hollow

noun
How to pronounce hollow (audio)

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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Comments on hollow

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