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 For example, sometimes the objectors proffer nothing other than vacuous statements that land as hollow accusations without any substantive foundation. Lance Eliot, Forbes, "Here’s Why Some Are Vehemently And Diametrically Opposed To Self-Driving Cars," 5 Apr. 2021 Kyle Mooney, Beck Bennett, and Chris Redd are the vacuous, partying contestants guessing which spring breaker has the COVID-19 vaccination. Andy Hoglund,, "Saturday Night Live recap: Maya Rudolph makes hilarious return with musical guest Jack Harlow," 28 Mar. 2021 Unlike the vacuous domes now home to Final Fours, this perspective is known to help shooters find their touch. Michael Casagrande |, al, "A shooter’s gym? Why Alabama’s more confident in second crack at Hinkle Fieldhouse.," 27 Mar. 2021 The first order of business was transforming the vacuous, 40-foot-tall storefront space on the building’s eastern exposure. Anna Fixsen, ELLE Decor, "Step Inside Lower Manhattan’s Prettiest New Restaurant," 24 Mar. 2021 Aimless talks, empty calls for dialogue, and vacuous condemnation would do very little for Myanmar’s people. Brian Wong, Fortune, "ASEAN states must act to help Myanmar. This is where they should start," 25 Mar. 2021 Great idea, but the vacuous execution was a flop with the public, for all kinds of reasons. Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune, "5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week," 29 Jan. 2021 The verses are vacuous, the insults have no teeth, and just when the whole thing seems to be leading up to a gigantic redemptive chorus, suddenly pop! Nate Jones, Vulture, "All 179 Taylor Swift Songs, Ranked," 11 Jan. 2021 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," 10 Aug. 2020

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

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vacuous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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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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