1 of 2


: an opening through something : perforation
The coat has a hole in it.
a bullet hole
: an area where something is missing
His mother's death left a hole in his life.
: gap: such as
: a serious discrepancy : flaw, weakness
some holes in your logic
: an opening in a defensive formation
a running back's ability to find holes in the defensive line
especially : the area of a baseball field between the positions of shortstop and third baseman
: a defect in a crystal (as of a semiconductor) that is due to an electron's having left its normal position in one of the crystal bonds and that is equivalent in many respects to a positively charged particle
: a hollowed-out place
a hole in an apple
: such as
: a cave, pit, or well in the ground
dug a large hole with a steam shovel
: burrow
a rabbit hole
: an unusually deep place in a body of water (such as a river)
: a wretched or dreary place
How could anyone live in such a hole?
: a prison cell especially for solitary confinement
threw him in the hole for two days
golf : a shallow cylindrical hole or hollowed-out place in the putting green of a golf course into which the ball is played
: a part of the golf course from tee (see tee entry 2 sense 2) to putting green
just beginning play on the third hole
also : the play on such a hole as a unit of scoring
won the hole by two strokes
: an awkward position or circumstance : fix
got the rebels out of a hole at the battleKenneth Roberts
: a position of owing or losing money
$10 million in the hole
raising money to get out of the hole


2 of 2


holed; holing

transitive verb

: to make an opening through or a hollowed-out place in (as by cutting, digging, boring, or shooting at) : to make a hole (see hole entry 1) in
The ship was holed along the waterline by enemy fire.
: to drive or hit into a hole
hole a putt
The dogs holed the fox.

intransitive verb

: to make an opening through or a hollowed-out place in something : to make a hole in something
in the hole
: having a score below zero
: at a disadvantage

Example Sentences

Noun I have a hole in my sock. He fixed the hole in the roof. a mouse hole in the wall The dog dug a deep hole. Her putt rolled right into the hole. She made a birdie on the seventh hole. The course has 18 holes. Verb She holed a long putt for a birdie. holed the target with a round of shots See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The goal was to use as little money as possible to find a recipe to produce a memory hole with a specific depth, width, and shape. IEEE Spectrum, 22 Mar. 2023 Curry failed to score in the first half of the contest as Golden State dug an early hole. Michael Shapiro, Chron, 21 Mar. 2023 Smith moving to center obviously creates a hole at guard, though the Jaguars have plenty of options for that position. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 20 Mar. 2023 The sudden spike in interest rates dropped the value of Silicon Valley Bank's Treasury bonds and mortgage bonds, punching a hole in its balance sheet. Elizabeth Schulze, ABC News, 20 Mar. 2023 When transplanting rhizomes dig a hole 4 inches deep and place them 12 to 18 inches apart when the weather has warmed up in the spring and the threat of frost has passed. oregonlive, 19 Mar. 2023 The Trojans once again started slow, digging themselves an 11-point hole early. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2023 The radio appeared to be a no-brand aftermarket item that just happened to fill a hole in the dash. David E. Davis Jr., Car and Driver, 18 Mar. 2023 To plant a seedling, simply dig a hole about twice as wide as the root ball, backfill the soil, and tamp down to remove air pockets. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 17 Mar. 2023
Add new planting mix and soil amendments to hole in preparation for planting new roses in January. Rita Perwich, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Feb. 2023 Predicting where the sport goes from here is sort of like trying to hole a shot from the fairway. Paul Newberry, ajc, 26 Aug. 2022 There's also drill-hole tabs at the base for permanent installation. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 13 May 2022 Apple is moving to hole-punch displays this year, but the notch replacement isn’t quite as clean as on Android phones. Chris Smith, BGR, 6 Apr. 2022 Add a few handfuls of worm castings to hole but no other amendments. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Oct. 2021 With Cantlay in close, the Spaniard had to hole the chip to have any chance of a playoff. BostonGlobe.com, 5 Sep. 2021 Proximity to hole leaders from 175-200 yards include: Collin Morikawa, Charley Hoffman, Xander Schauffele, Viktor Hovland, Abraham Ancer, Daniel Berger, Will Zalatoris and Tony Finau. Jay Ginsbach, Forbes, 17 June 2021 Betsy Wentz, founder of Studio B Interior Design, has an office/command center at one of three kitchen islands (more on those later) while her husband, a doctor, can hole away in a study. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, 30 July 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hole.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English hole, holle, going back to Old English hol "hollow place, cave, pit," noun derivative from neuter of hol "hollow, deeply concave, sunken," going back to Germanic *hula- (whence also Old Saxon & Old High German hol "hollow," Old Norse holr), probably going back to Indo-European *ḱuH-ló- (with assumed shortening of pretonic vowel), zero-grade derivative of a base *ḱeu̯H- "hollow," whence, with varying ablaut and suffixation, Greek koîlos, kóïlos "hollow, deep" (from *ḱou̯H-ilo-), Latin cavus "hollow, concave" (from *ḱou̯H-o-), Middle Irish cúa "hollow space, cavity," Middle Welsh ceu "hollow, empty" (both from *ḱou̯H-i̯o-?), Old Church Slavic sui "vain, empty" (from *ḱou̯H-i̯o-)


Middle English holen, going back to Old English holian, derivative of hol hole entry 1

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hole was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near hole

Cite this Entry

“Hole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hole. Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: an opening into or through a thing
: a hollow place (as a pit or cave)
: a deep place in a body of water
trout holes
: an underground habitation : burrow
: flaw, fault
: the shallow cup into which the ball is played in golf
: a part of a golf course from the tee to the putting green
: a shabby or dingy place
: an awkward position : fix
hole verb

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