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 It was supposedly stuffed in the hollow of a massive oak, since known as the Charter Oak. courant.com, "Sept. 23, 2019: You’re my cup of tea," 23 Sep. 2019 Some species prefer to nest in tree hollows, while others hide out in the crooks of trees or tangles of vegetation while the sun is up. National Geographic, "Bush babies," 19 Nov. 2019 Sparkling hollows filled with lustrous crystals, dubbed geodes, are often perceived as small objects that can fit comfortably on a bookshelf. Robin George Andrews, National Geographic, "These human-size crystals formed in especially strange ways," 22 Oct. 2019 Cora’s bottomless confidence got the best of him at times, his suggestions throughout the spring and much of the summer that the Sox would be fine proving hollow. BostonGlobe.com, "“I had a pretty good idea what was going on even before this year,” Cora said Saturday. “At the end of the day, we know the nature of the business and what you have to do.”," 29 Sep. 2019 In their trade, a last is a precise model of the foot that replicates its length and width, its protrusions and hollows. Los Angeles Times, "He was seeking custom-made boots. The journey led to a life deeply touched by love and death and leather," 22 Oct. 2019 There are hollows filled with evergreens and rushing streams. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "Four colorful Connecticut fall hikes with water views," 9 Oct. 2019 That’s when, according to archaeologist Lynn Wadley, our early African ancestors started to sleep in hollows dug out of cave floors—the first beds. Brian Fagan, Quartzy, "The bizarre 77,000-year history of beds," 4 Oct. 2019 That’s when, according to archaeologist Lynn Wadley, our early African ancestors started to sleep in hollows dug out of cave floors – the first beds. Brian Fagan, The Conversation, "The bizarre social history of beds," 13 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Well, that argument continues to ring hollow for me and just about anyone who can look at this situation with any type of logic. Andy Nesbitt, For The Win, "Ed Orgeron got an extra $500K for winning the national title, which is kinda ridiculous," 14 Jan. 2020 The suspension is updated, too, with hollow anti-roll bars in the front and rear for weight savings, though the strut front and multilink rear layouts are unchanged. Annie White, Car and Driver, "2020 Subaru Outback Is the Same but Better," 13 Jan. 2020 Yet the settings seem shopworn and the whole exercise feels hollow. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Men in Black: International’ Review: Humor, We Have a Problem," 13 June 2019 His program is chasing its own success; anything short of being in the hunt for a conference championship feels hollow to a fan base that quickly got accustomed to that level of winning. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Mark Dantonio faces hard decisions in order for Michigan State football to return to glory," 2 Dec. 2019 Finally, researchers outfitted the bats with tiny trackers and released them to join an existing colony roosting in a hollow tree. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Vampire bats form bonds of ‘friendship’ that last beyond captivity," 31 Oct. 2019 The birds feed on flying insects and commonly live in residential chimneys or hollow trees. Amanda Watts, CNN, "Over 300 migrating birds smashed into Charlotte's NASCAR building," 16 Oct. 2019 All of the records would have felt a little hollow for Byerly without the team success this season. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "Franklin overcomes 20 years of losing, coach's cancer to find success one day at a time," 12 Oct. 2019 That dynamic of casual character-swapping largely just emphasizes how hollow most of the show’s characters feel. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Netflix’s Another Life starts as Arrival, then turns into Star Trek," 23 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These changes hollow out the spaces where specific activities once took place. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "With a Phone, Are You Ever Really Somewhere?," 16 Jan. 2020 Meanwhile, jobs that have long offered women a path to the middle class are getting hollowed out, with more than 2.1 million administrative support and office support jobs shed since 2000. Jena Mcgregor, Washington Post, "The shock of unemployment may push men into jobs traditionally held by women, study shows," 15 Jan. 2020 Some of the buildings were hollowed out with broken glass in the lobby. Brett Murphy, USA Today, "Reporting on a deadly airstrike in Afghanistan," 9 Jan. 2020 Mr Pompeo has hollowed out the political section of the sprawling American embassy in Baghdad, which now boasts but a handful of officers. The Economist, "After the assassination How Iran can respond to the killing of Qassem Suleimani," 9 Jan. 2020 Economic distress, population flight and the loss of local sports teams, lunch joints and barber shops have hollowed out communities that were long solidly middle class. Melissa Healystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Factory closures may have helped fuel the opioid crisis. Here’s how," 3 Jan. 2020 With the legislative branch impotent and hollowed out, the executive branch—and the president who sits atop it—increasingly makes and carries out the policy decisions that shape American lives. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "A Decade of Legal Warfare Has Warped America’s Future," 30 Dec. 2019 At the same time, the ranks of part-time rural firefighters have been hollowed out as the population leaves. National Geographic, "Is the sun getting stranger?," 11 Dec. 2019 That has hollowed out both the middle class in big cities and the economic engine in smaller cities. Kevin Quealy, New York Times, "Watch 4 Decades of Inequality Drive American Cities Apart," 2 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb 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

6 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hollow.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hollowest. Accessed 27 January 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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More from Merriam-Webster on hollow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hollow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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