vacuous

adjective
vac·​u·​ous | \ ˈva-kyə-wəs How to pronounce vacuous (audio) \

Definition of vacuous

1 : emptied of or lacking content
2 : marked by lack of ideas or intelligence : stupid, inane a vacuous mind a vacuous movie
3 : devoid of serious occupation : idle

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Other Words from vacuous

vacuously adverb
vacuousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for vacuous

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for vacuous

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 Web The collaboration is what makes it—a legacy figure in the field of elite ineptitude, delivering the old egregiousness in a style optimized for the vacuous new avatar of elite incompetence. David Roth, The New Republic, "American Psycho," 9 June 2020 Clusters of truly vacuous paintings — a cattle skull with a garland of pink flowers, a unicorn silhouette filled with stars — crowded the walls. Brendan Fitzgerald, Longreads, "“I miss my body when it was ferocious” The Transfiguration of Paul Curreri," 14 Mar. 2020 Such allusions seem intended to send up that vacuous blockbuster, whose non-songs and bizarre sets are periodically enlivened by muscular acrobatics and outlandish costumes. New York Times, "Renewing the World (or the Theater, at Least)," 13 Feb. 2020 Will is more of an insufferable populist, prepared to cut certain corners to get his beers distribution and turn his hall into a boozy playground for the Valley's thirsty and vacuous. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Brews Brothers': TV Review," 9 Apr. 2020 Where Wodehouse tells somewhat vacuous stories in exquisite comic prose, Ephron brings wisdom and insight along with the laughs. Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "To be a better ally, I gave up reading books by men for 2019," 27 Dec. 2019 The election was one of the most vacuous in recent memory. Ryan C. Berg, National Review, "Unwelcome Signs for the U.S. in Argentina’s New Administration," 13 Dec. 2019 Temperatures in these vacuous regions can plummet to about -455 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 degrees kelvin). Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "The Weirdly Nihilistic Reason Why Outer Space Is So Cold," 22 Nov. 2019 In its environments—sumptuous, vacuous, cold—there is a sense of menace. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Why Succession Works So Well as Horror," 13 Oct. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of vacuous

circa 1660, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vacuous

Latin vacuus "empty, unoccupied, idle" + -ous — more at vacuum entry 1

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Time Traveler for vacuous

Time Traveler

The first known use of vacuous was circa 1660

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Last Updated

18 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vacuous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vacuous. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for vacuous

vacuous

adjective
How to pronounce vacuous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vacuous

formal : having or showing a lack of intelligence or serious thought : lacking meaning, importance, or substance

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More from Merriam-Webster on vacuous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vacuous

Spanish Central: Translation of vacuous

Nglish: Translation of vacuous for Spanish Speakers

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