pot·​hole | \ ˈpät-ˌhōl How to pronounce pothole (audio) \

Definition of pothole

1a : a circular hole formed in the rocky bed of a river by the grinding action of stones or gravel whirled round by the water
b : a sizable rounded often water-filled depression in land
2 : a pot-shaped hole in a road surface
3 : a usually minor difficulty or setback hit a pothole in her comeback attempt

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pothole

potholed \ ˈpät-​ˌhōld How to pronounce potholed (audio) \ adjective

Examples of pothole in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Last year, the city’s auctions raised $12 million for its coffers, a mere pittance given the city’s $92.8 billion budget, but still enough to fill potholes. New York Times, "Nail Clippers, a Parking Meter and a River Barge: This Is N.Y.C.’s Yard Sale," 25 Dec. 2019 Chilly weather typically pushes redfish and trout into deep rivers like those in the Mobile Delta and on the west side of Mobile Bay, as well as into marsh creek potholes and dug channels like the Theodore Canal. Frank Sargeant, al, "Friday Fishing Report: Plenty of good fishing during holidays," 20 Dec. 2019 The few guests who’d stayed the night before had left, including an itinerant logger who’s a semi-regular, some road workers filling potholes on the highway and a downstate couple who’d emerged from the woods after a week of camping. John Carlisle, Freep.com, "Her husband's sudden death left her to run struggling U.P. motel — and she can't walk away," 28 Nov. 2019 Factors include the weather, the car's tire pressure, potholes, how many people are in the car, what pedestrians are doing and how assertive the car is. Matt Mcfarland, CNN, "Driver's ed for robotaxis: A grueling exam looms for self-driving cars," 4 Oct. 2019 At states’ discretion, a lot was instead used for things like plugging budget gaps and filling potholes, Jacobi explains. Sanya Mansoor, Time, "Johnson & Johnson Was Ordered to Pay $572 Million for Its Role in the Opioid Crisis. With Similar Lawsuits Across the Country, That Could Be Just the Beginning," 29 Aug. 2019 Illinois is nearly doubling its advertising budget and launching a new campaign this summer to get tourists across the Midwest to travel the state's scenic highways and byways — potholes, crumbling bridges and all. Robert Channick, chicagotribune.com, "Illinois Tourism doubles ad spending this summer to get visitors to travel the state's highways and byways — potholes and all," 6 June 2019 More stories: Detroit police: Speed, not pothole, caused traffic death MSP: I-75 'projectiles' may be from pellet gun, not road debris The officer was subsequently transported to Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital. Detroit Free Press, "MSP officer crashes car chasing speeder on I-75," 21 Feb. 2018 After three minutes into the pursuit, the officer struck a pothole, Bruce said. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Suspected drunk driver gets away after Houston cop hits pothole during pursuit, flipping cruiser," 27 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pothole.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of pothole

1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pothole

Time Traveler for pothole

Time Traveler

The first known use of pothole was in 1826

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pothole

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pothole.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pothole. Accessed 25 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pothole


How to pronounce pothole (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pothole

: a deep, round hole in a road or some other surface (such as the bottom of a river)


pot·​hole | \ ˈpät-ˌhōl How to pronounce pothole (audio) \

Kids Definition of pothole

: a deep round hole (as in a road)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pothole

Spanish Central: Translation of pothole

Nglish: Translation of pothole for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pothole

Comments on pothole

What made you want to look up pothole? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


dull or mediocre

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!