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 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 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

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 During a family gathering there, one of the children finds a frightening memento mori: a skull wedged into the hollow of an old elm tree in the garden. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: A Case of Mistaken Identity," 11 Oct. 2018 They can be used to plump lips, minimize wrinkles and scars, smooth under-eye hollows, and contour cheeks, temples, noses, and jaw lines. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 2018 In the same place where contour powder would go to make those hollows recede, blush brings attention to Khaliha's cheekbones by grabbing attention instead, softening and enhancing her bone structure without exaggerating her angles. Michelle Sulcov, Glamour, "These Before-and-After Photos Show What a Difference Blush Can Make," 31 Aug. 2018 Unlike Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, who soared to success in the late 1960s with confessional hardship songs from the hills and hollows, Ms. Gentry’s two-steppers revealed little about her. Marc Myers, WSJ, "‘Bobbie Gentry: The Girl From Chickasaw County—The Complete Capitol Masters’ Review: A Country Talent, Fully Recognized," 25 Sep. 2018 Most frequently, these temperatures, colder than the average temperature on Mars (around minus 60 Celsius), were observed in dips and hollows near the top of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "The planet’s most frigid region is even colder than scientists thought," 26 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

At the tip, the electrodrill had a hollow, circular cutting bit studded with diamonds that rotated at a rate of 225 revolutions per minute. Jon Gertner, WIRED, "The Top Secret Cold War Project That Pulled Climate Science From the Ice," 12 June 2019 Strands of colorful prayer flags crisscross the pale face of the hollow, a holy location where Tibetans have long retreated to pray and heal from sickness. National Geographic, "Mysterious ancient human found on the ‘roof of the world’," 1 May 2019 These threats consistently sound hollow, like the Big Bad Wolf vowing to huff and puff and blow a little pig’s house in when the abode is made of brick. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "No Exit," 10 Apr. 2019 In the 1950s and 1960s, mathematicians proved an assortment of theorems about how to fit objects such as disks (filled-in circles) and spheres (hollow, like a beach ball) into three-dimensional space. Quanta Magazine, "Möbius Strips Defy a Link With Infinity," 20 Feb. 2019 In effect, Fails has handed over to Talbot the intricate and fragile treasures of a lifetime, and Talbot has melted them down and reshaped them into something smooth, shiny, and hollow. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Review: The Disappointing Blandness of “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”," 5 June 2019 But his paranoia is unmoored from the current political climate, which makes the film’s final veer back to Ed’s obsession seem all the more forced and hollow. Mark Jenkins, chicagotribune.com, "‘The Tomorrow Man’ review: John Lithgow plays a prepper readying for world’s end, yet hoping for romance," 4 June 2019 Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and, using a teaspoon, hollow out each half, saving insides for another use. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Ricotta- and Goat Cheese- Stuffed Zucchini," 20 May 2019 That same scene made today would be some epic battle with tons of explosions—technically impressive, yes— but one that would ultimately ring emotionally hollow. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "This Reimagined Star Wars Fight Scene Is Amazing—but Mostly Makes Me Sad," 8 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Many of those remaining —about 7,000 — are threatened, or hollowed out after round after round of cost-cutting layoffs. Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post, "Google and Facebook sucked profits from newspapers. Publishers are finally resisting.," 5 June 2019 Both are products of a deeper-seated, destabilizing trend: the hollowing out of the political middle. Greg Ip, WSJ, "The Shrinking of the Political Middle—and What It Means," 21 Jan. 2019 Or is extreme affluence a sort of benign virus that can only hollow out the diverse life of a city. Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, "Another ‘Manhattan moment’: Seattle’s new $19,265-a-month apartment," 13 July 2018 Students had watched her video demonstrating how to hollow out and reassemble a sculpture the week prior, so were ready to work on their projects during class time. Tammy Ayer, The Seattle Times, "Schoolwork at home, homework at school: Yakima Valley College flips classes to shake up learning," 13 Feb. 2018 East New York was gradually hollowed out by the same cycle of disinvestment that ate away at a lot of formerly middle-class neighborhoods in New York and other American cities over the course of the 1960s and ’70s. Jonathan Mahler, New York Times, "The Case for the Subway," 3 Jan. 2018 Cut in half and hollowed out, the peel acts as your base. Rebecca Shinners, Country Living, "These Watermelon Jell-O Shots are Exactly What Your Memorial Day BBQ Needs," 22 May 2015 Sprinkled throughout the Tongass National Forest in Alaska's Southeast Panhandle are giant cedar trees with hollowed out cores at their bases. Anchorage Daily News, "What made the hollowed out ‘fire trees’ of the Tongass? An artist turns investigator to find an answer," 23 June 2018 The president’s frustration also comes as his West Wing continues to hollow out. Zeke Miller And Catherine Lucey, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump searches for credit on North Korea nuclear deal," 16 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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hollow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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