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

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 Scurius, a nut-hoarding gray squirrel played with surprising gravitas by Terence Archie, lives comfortably and regally with his family in the hollow of a tree. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "La Jolla Playhouse's apocalyptic 'Squirrels' a dark, funny look at prejudice," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The tabloids reported on it with a mix of smug derision and hollow lament. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 The hollow-seeming nature of this apology stems at least in part from Blair’s behavior in the days after the story went viral. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Rosey Blair, the #PlaneBae matchmaker, apologizes for invading a woman’s privacy," 11 July 2018 That faintly hollow feel is the one duff note in an otherwise pitch-perfect production. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lieutenant of Inishmore': Theater Review," 5 July 2018 But her womanhood is a hollow, brittle performance, masking deep reserves of cruelty. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "Sharp Objects Is Stunning, Raw, and Violently Beautiful," 5 July 2018 Then, in 2007, Ken Wheeler, an aircraft designer and bike tourer, discovered that the best vibration damping, durability, strength and stiffness came from a hollow bicycle frame made of … wood? Roy M. Wallack, latimes.com, "Summer is calling: Fitness gear to get you outdoors – and moving," 5 July 2018 The girders gave off a hollow sound, indicating that the concrete had indeed pulled away from the steel inside, creating open space. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "How a 20-minute fire in the fatal I-84 crash ruined a concrete overpass," 22 June 2018 After years of hands-off teases and hollow promises, Dreams finally landed in our hands as a living, playable video game. Kyle Orland, Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "The top ten games from E3 2018," 19 June 2018 The police found two unloaded 9mm handguns, 138 rounds of ammunition, including 60 hollow-point bullets, a machete and a hatchet in his car, the New York Daily News reported. Fleming Smith, ajc, "Georgia man arrested in New York bus terminal with arsenal of weapons," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Now 28, Thomas still makes her fifes by hand out of cane, hollowing it out with a heated metal rod—just as Turner did. Bill Dahl, Chicago Reader, "Shardé Thomas propels the Rising Stars Fife & Drum Band into a new century," 5 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

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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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occurring twice a year or every two years

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