va·​cant | \ˈvā-kənt \

Definition of vacant 

1 : not occupied by an incumbent, possessor, or officer a vacant office vacant thrones

2 : being without content or occupant a vacant seat on a bus a vacant room

3 : free from activity or work : disengaged vacant hours

4 : devoid of thought, reflection, or expression a vacant smile

5 : not lived in vacant houses

6a : not put to use vacant land

b : having no heir or claimant : abandoned a vacant estate

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Other Words from vacant

vacantly adverb
vacantness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for vacant

empty, vacant, blank, void, vacuous mean lacking contents which could or should be present. empty suggests a complete absence of contents. an empty bucket vacant suggests an absence of appropriate contents or occupants. a vacant apartment blank stresses the absence of any significant, relieving, or intelligible features on a surface. a blank wall void suggests absolute emptiness as far as the mind or senses can determine. a statement void of meaning vacuous suggests the emptiness of a vacuum and especially the lack of intelligence or significance. a vacuous facial expression

Examples of vacant in a Sentence

These lockers are all vacant. The seat was left vacant when the secretary resigned. He had a vacant expression on his face.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Seven of those 18 seats are vacant, due in large part to the departures of five Republican lawmakers who either have resigned or are not running again. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Barletta, Trump backer, wins GOP nod to take on Sen. Casey," 2 Oct. 2018 The San Antonio State Hospital would convert a now vacant building into a 40-bed facility to serve patients with mental health issues, according to Christine Mann, a spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Austin Horn, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio State Hospital to add 40 beds for mental-health patients," 7 July 2018 The beaming statue will sit on a bench and look toward his workshop, now vacant, where Montana spent his days quietly drawing cartoons. Washington Post, "‘Archie’ artist honored with statue by his hometown," 4 July 2018 Trustees had said the village waited long enough to see redevelopment of the site at Washington and Adams streets which sat vacant with no plans for a decade. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Oswego to look at revisions to plans for $64 million development downtown," 29 June 2018 Wauwatosa's Community Development Authority, which owns the the long-vacant building at 6330 W. North Ave., is looking to redevelop it, perhaps for affordable apartments or mixed use. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wauwatosa looks to transform long-vacant building into affordable housing, mixed use development," 28 June 2018 Of Egypt’s 43m homes, 9m are vacant, and half of those are incomplete. The Economist, "Why Arab states have lots of expensive villas," 14 June 2018 The house sat vacant for years after Paige's death in 1982 at age 72, according to the Star. Jenna West,, "Baseball Icon Satchel Paige's Former Home Burns," 29 May 2018 In 2017, as vacancies opened up through routine retirements and departures, the staff at the Office of Property Tax Oversight was told to keep many positions vacant, several sources close to the agency told the Herald/Times. Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "Need a stable and high-paying state job? Rick Scott loyalists have the inside track. | Miami Herald," 8 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vacant.' 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 vacant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vacant

Middle English vacaunt, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin vacant-, vacans, present participle of vacāre "to be empty or unoccupied, have space, be free,"; perhaps akin to Hittite wakkāari "lacks," wakšyi- "be lacking"

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Statistics for vacant

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for vacant

The first known use of vacant was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for vacant



English Language Learners Definition of vacant

: not filled, used, or lived in

of a job or position : not occupied by a person : available to be taken by someone

: showing no indication of what someone is thinking, feeling, etc.


va·​cant | \ˈvā-kənt \

Kids Definition of vacant

1 : not filled, used, or lived in a vacant house a vacant lot a vacant job position

2 : showing a lack of thought or expression vacant eyes

3 : free from duties or care vacant hours

Other Words from vacant

vacantly adverb



Legal Definition of vacant 

1 : not filled or occupied

2a : not put to use vacant land

b : having no heir or claimant a vacant estate

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More from Merriam-Webster on vacant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vacant

Spanish Central: Translation of vacant

Nglish: Translation of vacant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vacant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on vacant

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to enclose within walls

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