Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


 hollow on Wikipedia

Alternative forms[edit]

  • hallow
  • holler (nonstandard: dialectal, especially Southern US)


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English holow, holowe, holwe, holwȝ, holgh, from Old English holh (a hollow), from Proto-Germanic *halhwaz, from Proto-Indo-European *ḱelḱwos. Cognate with Old High German huliwa and hulwa, Middle High German hülwe. Perhaps related to hole.


hollow (plural hollows)

  1. A small valley between mountains.
    • c. 1710–20, Matthew Prior, The First Hymn Of Callimachus: To Jupiter
      Forests grew upon the barren hollows.
    • 1820, Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, published 1864:
      This road leads through a sandy hollow, shaded by trees for about a quarter of a mile, where it crosses the bridge famous in goblin story, and just beyond swells the green knoll on which stands the whitewashed church.
    • 1855, Alfred Tennyson, Maud
      I hate the dreadful hollow behind the little wood.
    He built himself a cabin in a hollow high up in the Rockies.
  2. A sunken area or unfilled space in something solid; a cavity, natural or artificial.
    the hollow of the hand or of a tree
  3. (US) A sunken area.
  4. (figuratively) A feeling of emptiness.
    a hollow in the pit of one's stomach


hollow (third-person singular simple present hollows, present participle hollowing, simple past and past participle hollowed)

  1. (transitive) to make a hole in something; to excavate

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English holowe, holwe, holuȝ, holgh, from the noun (see above).


hollow (comparative hollower, superlative hollowest)

  1. (of something solid) Having an empty space or cavity inside.
    a hollow tree; a hollow sphere
  2. (of a sound) Distant, eerie; echoing, reverberating, as if in a hollow space; dull, muffled; often low-pitched.
    He let out a hollow moan.
    • 1903, George Gordon Byron, On Leaving Newstead Abbey
      Through thy battlements, Newstead, the hollow winds whistle:
  3. (figuratively) Without substance; having no real or significant worth; meaningless.
    a hollow victory
  4. (figuratively) Insincere, devoid of validity; specious.
    a hollow promise
  5. Concave; gaunt; sunken.
    • c. 1596-1599, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
      To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
  6. (gymnastics) Pertaining to hollow body position
Derived terms[edit]


hollow (not comparable)

  1. (colloquial) Completely, as part of the phrase beat hollow or beat all hollow.

Etymology 3[edit]

Compare holler.


hollow (third-person singular simple present hollows, present participle hollowing, simple past and past participle hollowed)

  1. To call or urge by shouting; to hollo.



  1. Alternative form of hollo