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



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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 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 But this is precisely why there is such symbolic value in Ms. Monopoly’s patronizing pointlessness. Because, if nothing else, it’s representative of the vacuous nature of the second type of feminist. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Ms. Monopoly — the World’s Dumbest Board Game," 12 Sep. 2019 Partly because of its simplicity and adaptability across platforms, half of the 2020 Democratic field has embraced good, responsible, rather vacuous 2010s design, as well. Kate Wagner, The New Republic, "The Subtle Politics of Graphic Design," 20 Aug. 2019 The nihilistic gewgaw, vacuous and vulgar, instead embodies the mythos that can be manufactured in a crude market-culture that primarily values art as a luxury asset. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Unicorns are just one of the wild rides in the Getty’s marvelous ‘Book of Beasts’," 23 July 2019 Miller-Weston also brings a kind of exquisitely offhand viciousness to the vacuous Mrs. Wormwood, and has a hands-down hilarious scene with her alarmingly limber dance teacher Rudolpho (a memorable Ala Tiatia). James Hebert, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Matilda’ and its ‘revolting children’ make for an entertainingly barbed musical comedy at Moonlight," 19 July 2019 Like our vacuous and reprehensible president, Gardner is not fit to represent the citizens of Colorado. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: How are deportations a problem now and not under Obama? (7/18/19)," 18 July 2019 Get our daily newsletter Many foreign leaders have realised that Mr Trump enjoys vacuous flattery. The Economist, "Trump Heights, Binyamin Netanyahu’s tribute to America’s president," 22 June 2019 Will the Oscars turn into a political rally as actor after vacuous actor denounces the Republican Party? Gerard Baker, WSJ, "Resolutions, Predictions and Other Exercises in Futility," 28 Dec. 2018

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

22 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Vacuous.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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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