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

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Other Words from pothole

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

Examples of pothole in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Running a big city isn't just potholes, garbage pickup and parking fines. Bloomberg News, NOLA.com, "No mayor has ever made the direct jump to president. Could it happen in 2020?," 30 Apr. 2018 Ukraine’s economic stagnation was visible in the pale bricks that had fallen from hospital’s facade, in the potholes in city roads, in the white zebra stripes almost totally washed away at pedestrian crossings. Mstyslav Chernov, The Seattle Times, "Ukrainian workers, seeing little hope at home, head abroad," 25 Mar. 2019 An apparent lack of money for road maintenance paired with a climate that sees temperatures hit the high 90s (34-36° C) in the summer and single digits in the winter (-15°C or so) results in ridges, potholes, and other bits of road damage. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "All SUV, all of the time: The Range Rover Sport reviewed," 12 July 2018 Traffic Hazard, Miles Road: A driver reported hitting a pothole 6:15 p.m. April 23 that caused his front tire to go flat. Joan Rusek, cleveland.com, "Driver caught with drugs and warrant pees on his stash: Chagrin Falls Police Blotter," 4 May 2018 Then Mobi-Wize can provide city officials with detailed maps of every road that is suffering from potholes or other signs of deterioration. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "This startup helps self-driving cars literally feel the road," 11 Sep. 2018 But the outdoor range gets busy and is reached after 2 miles of axle-munching potholes, especially this time of year. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "An empty Fred Meyer store in downtown Palmer could become an indoor shooting range," 17 Apr. 2018 Drivers on this steep ascent must watch out for potholes and slippery gravel, not to mention livestock, which roams the area freely. Olivia Putnal, Woman's Day, "10 Awe-Inspiring Roads Around the World," 19 Oct. 2010 The result is visible today on its palm-lined, trash- and pothole-free streets. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "Rwanda: A Poster Child for Development With a Dark Side," 6 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of pothole

1826, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Dictionary Entries near pothole



pot holder





Statistics for pothole

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for pothole

The first known use of pothole was in 1826

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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)

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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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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