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


 hollow on Wikipedia

Alternative forms[edit]

  • holler (nonstandard: dialectal, especially Southern US)


Etymology 1[edit]

Middle English holw, holh, from Old English hol(hollow), from Proto-Germanic *hulaz (compare Dutch hol, German hohl, Danish hul), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱówHilo- (compare Albanian thellë(deep), Ancient Greek κοῖλος(koîlos, hollow), Avestan [script needed](sūra, hole, gap)[script needed], Sanskrit कुल्या(kulyā, brook, ditch)), from *ḱówH-(cavity). More at cave.


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.
    a hollow moan
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
  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. Depressed; concave; gaunt; sunken.
    • Shakespeare
      With hollow eye and wrinkled brow.
  1. (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 2[edit]

Middle English holow, earlier holgh, from Old English holh(a hollow)', from hol(hollow (adj.)). See above.


hollow ‎(plural hollows)

  1. A small valley between mountains; a low spot surrounded by elevations.
    • Prior
      Forests grew upon the barren hollows.
    • Tennyson
      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
  5. One who has lost their purpose, their motivation to live.
    Oh, you... You're no Hollow, eh?


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 3[edit]

Compare holler.


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

  1. To urge or call by shouting; to hollo.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      He has hollowed the hounds.



  1. Alternative form of hollo

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.