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 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 Water had scoured two symmetrical hollows into the stone, giving it an owlish look, or a blind look, or, anyway, some quality that was oddly attractive. Louise Erdrich, The New Yorker, "The Stone," 2 Sep. 2019 The rolling landscape means that some parts of the 35-acre grounds sit in windswept hollows. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Branch manager: A visit with the tree whisperer of Brookside Gardens," 22 July 2019 Country came not from the affluent and the accepted, but from the fringes of America–from the hills and hollows, from Sunday morning and Saturday night, from barrios and blues clubs. Jon Meacham, Time, "Country Music Should Be Political. After All, It Always Has Been," 15 Aug. 2019 If your dark circles aren't the result of shadows caused by hollows under your eye, filler might not solve the problem. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need to Know About Under Eye Filler for Dark Circles," 14 Aug. 2019 Nestled in the coastal hollow between Tampa and St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Fla., is known as a family vacation destination. Judy Berman, Time, "Florida Girls Is the Most Fun You'll Have in Front of the TV This Summer," 9 July 2019 Some subglacial lakes form when pressure from above or geothermal hot spots from below melt portions of the ice, others when meltwater trickles down from above through holes known as moulins to pool in hollows under the ice. NBC News, "Dozens of lakes discovered deep under the Greenland Ice Sheet," 29 June 2019 Snap some pics with Auckland’s skyline or suburbs in the background, or stare down at the huge emerald hollow. Andrea Bartz, Marie Claire, "The Instagram Guide to Auckland, New Zealand," 11 Feb. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective To remain in the air, these fancy fliers’ bones had to be extremely lightweight and hollow, which means their delicate remains readily collapsed and crumbled under pressure. National Geographic, "New 'iron dragon' pterosaur found in Australia," 3 Oct. 2019 None of the relationships transcend narrative function, and so death, rage and reconciliations ring hollow. Elizabeth Kerr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Climbers' ('Pan deng zhe'): Film Review," 1 Oct. 2019 And Allen in his tendency to produce hollow, throwback, pre-feminist-movement fantasies. Rachel Donadio, The Atlantic, "The Disparate Reactions to a New Woody Allen Film," 24 Sep. 2019 Ariel pushed a bright little knob of blue perfectly into its hollow. Daniel Poppick, Harper's magazine, "Rumors," 16 Sep. 2019 It's been branded a hollow public relations exercise. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "It's Israel's election but here's why Donald Trump is the 'King of Israel'," 16 Sep. 2019 Ungainly in looks, but a natural for work — each hoof a snowshoe, with hollow fur for warmth and to buoy them across gelid Arctic rivers. Christopher Solomon, New York Times, "Exploring a Timeless Wilderness, Before the Drilling Begins," 13 Sep. 2019 In this world, the reactions of those pundits to Castro’s attack have revealed how comically hollow Democratic civility discourse can be. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Julián Castro Is Not Here to Make Friends," 13 Sep. 2019 All the cackling and contortions feel like desperate attempts to distract viewers from a movie that’s hollow to its core. Los Angeles Times, "Best of the 2019 Toronto Film Festival: There was ‘Parasite’ and there was everything else," 13 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Leaders hollowed out their offices, slashing staff by 30%. oregonlive, "Failing forestry: Oregon’s forestry department is on an unsustainable path," 20 Oct. 2019 Trees rudely hollowed Alongside the threat from deforestation, the forest’s capacity to water itself can be weakened by rising temperatures. The Economist, "The Amazon is approaching an irreversible tipping point," 1 Aug. 2019 No one on the left wants to hollow out Middle America. David Scharfenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "How Donald Trump just might save the Republican Party — and the country," 6 Sep. 2019 With its middle class hollowed out, California has transitioned to an economy with incredibly high levels of income inequality — think of the difference in income between an Uber driver and an Uber product supervisor. James P. Sutton, National Review, "Why the GOP Has Declined in California," 1 Aug. 2019 Even as the idea of citizenship is hollowed out by neoliberalism, the cultural majoritarianism operating alongside claims to foster a sense of community. Ajay Gudavarthy, Quartz India, "Neoliberalism is killing the very idea of citizenship in India," 2 Sep. 2019 Cristobal looked hollowed out on the field after the game. oregonlive, "Canzano: What will the Oregon Ducks learn from their brutal loss to Auburn?," 31 Aug. 2019 Five musicians kneeled behind the marimba, an instrument made of flat wooden keys and hollowed out cabaca fruit. USA Today, "Were Wanda Tucker’s ancestors America’s first slaves? A difficult search for answers in far-away Angola," 22 Aug. 2019 But the last few decades have hollowed out many of those stable jobs, thanks to the double whammy of automation and global trade. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "No college degree? Your best bet might be serving the rich," 31 July 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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Statistics for hollow

Last Updated

29 Sep 2019

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
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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