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 hollow (audio) \; hollowest\ ˈhä-​lə-​wəst How to pronounce hollow (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 hollow (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 According to obituary notices, Mathias Dilger came to Waukegan in 1893 and started his florist business in the hollow. Gregory Harutunian, chicagotribune.com, 20 Aug. 2021 Barton remembers a meeting at the fire hall in the late 1980s when, by his account, an official promised the water would make its way into the hollow. Washington Post, 28 June 2021 Nestled in the hollow of the hills, with the village of San André in the background, its golden sands (imported from the Sahara) and its palm trees, Las Teresitas is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Canary Islands. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 30 May 2021 Some view his declarations of civil war on Republicans as counterproductive and claims of political power hollow. Karl Rove, WSJ, 3 Mar. 2021 The area, nestled in a leafy hollow below the Hollywood sign, has long attracted an eclectic stable of artists, writers, musicians, actors and other film and TV professionals. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, 2 Mar. 2021 After frequent sightings of adult owls in their backyard in the spring, Schultz spotted one bird inside the hollow in their willow on April 30. Val Cunningham Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 12 Jan. 2021 Cold fire ignites the soft hollow behind the knees. Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, Vogue, 23 Dec. 2020 Expectedly, the fires have taken a toll on state and national parks and forests, a point driven home by last month’s haunting image of a fire burning in the hollow of a redwood in California’s Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Archana Ram, Condé Nast Traveler, 18 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective More than anything else, the Hulu series feels hollow. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 18 Aug. 2021 Usually autistic characters are the only ones who are handled from external and distanced perspectives and come across as not-quite-human, but everyone was a little hollow here. Sarah Kurchak, Time, 16 July 2021 Patel's words seemed hollow to England defender Tyrone Mings. Rob Harris, Star Tribune, 12 July 2021 But unlike previous times when lucrative jobs opened up, the denial seemed hollow and the timing appeared right for Schlossnagle to depart. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, 9 June 2021 In his story, the fabric merchant had experienced a loss 20 years before that left him hollow. Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Mar. 2021 One day, at the Collège Adelaïde, a nine-year-old girl with startlingly dark, fervent eyes and a hollow little face sits next to Sylvie Lepage. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 23 Aug. 2021 The researchers constructed it from hollow octahedral subunits that interlock but are able to move against one another. Lars Fischer, Scientific American, 20 Aug. 2021 Richards’ tributes to Trebek feel especially hollow given just how quickly he’s thrown into disarray what Trebek spent his career helping to build. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 20 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The phronima will skewer salps -- a gelatinous invertebrate -- and hollow out their insides, before climbing in. Thomas Page, CNN, 2 July 2021 But voting rights experts noted that the court’s decision on Thursday did not invalidate or significantly hollow out Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. New York Times, 1 July 2021 That ended a hard-fought struggle by Tribune's journalists to find alternative local buyers out of fear that Alden ownership would hollow out their papers and prompt more newsroom layoffs. Tali Arbel, Star Tribune, 26 May 2021 The machine injects the liquid plastic into its pressed molds and blows air into the sculpture to hollow it, hence the hot plastic smell that wafts into the air. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, 12 May 2021 The result has been a circuit-court chasm, as liberal judges hollow out the Second Amendment. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 26 Apr. 2021 Both parties proceeded to cut budgets and hollow out regulatory agencies across critical sectors, especially pharma and health care. Zachary Siegel, The New Republic, 23 Apr. 2021 Brick-and-mortar isn’t going to just snap back, and e-commerce is not about to hollow out all of America’s shopping malls. Greg Petro, Forbes, 16 Apr. 2021 The seeders hollow out the onions and reduce yields. New York Times, 4 Mar. 2021 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, 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, 13 Jan. 2020 This argument rings hollow, since college sports already sit on an uneven playing field. Sean Gregory, Time, 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, 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, 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, 3 July 2018 The idea that these laws are intended to make women and children safer rings hollow. Willie Parker, Glamour, 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, 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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Dictionary Entries Near hollow

hollong

hollow

hollow back

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Statistics for hollow

Last Updated

26 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hollow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hollow. Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on hollow

Nglish: Translation of hollow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hollow for Arabic Speakers

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