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
Did you know?
As you might have guessed, "vacuous" shares the same root as "vacuum"-the Latin adjective vacuus, meaning "empty." This root also gave us the noun "vacuity" (the oldest meaning of which is "an empty space") as well as the verb "evacuate" (originally meaning "to empty of contents"). Its predecessor, the verb "vacare," is also an ancestor of the words "vacation" and "vacancy" as well as "void." All of these words suggest an emptiness of space, or else a fleeing of people or things from one place to another. "Vacuous" appeared in English in the middle of the 17th century, at first literally describing something that was empty. It acquired its figurative usage, describing one who is lacking any substance of the mind, in the mid-1800s.
Examples of vacuous in a Sentence
a dull and vacuous movie
He had a vacuous expression on his face.
Recent Examples on the WebDefer current gratifications, such as binge-watching vacuous Netflix shows, and put in the hours needed to succeed.
Jack Kelly, Forbes, 10 Aug. 2022 The hope is that the blind will lead the blind, in the sense that those that know nothing of substance on the AI topic will end up inadvertently goading others into equally vacuous argumentation.
Lance Eliot, Forbes, 10 July 2022 Cruz, 48, plays the eccentric and curly-haired auteur Lola Cuevas, while Banderas, 61, is Félix Rivero, a vacuous and self-centered actor cast opposite the seemingly modest but committed Iván Torres (Oscar Martínez).
New York Times, 22 June 2022 In the series, writer/artist Frank Miller reimagines Batman as a grim, middle-aged avenger dispensing brutal justice in a post-apocalyptic landscape dominated by violent gangs and blanketed in vacuous media.
Rob Salkowitz, Forbes, 21 June 2022 Most movies that deploy violence tidy it up with empty outrage and vacuous moralizing; here, the violence haunts you.
New York Times, 2 June 2022 Because candidates' statements are usually vacuous, journalists tend to emphasize superficial qualities of vocal tone, body language, or diction.
Samuel Goldman, The Week, 15 Apr. 2022 Many critics love to pan overtly retro-sounding artists as derivative, calculating and vacuous cosplayers.
Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, 2 Mar. 2022 Also Gigi Grazer for skewering the vacuous Westside society.
Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2022 See More
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vacuous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.