Definition of fill in English:

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Pronunciation: /fil/


[with object]
1Put someone or something into (a space or container) so that it is completely or almost completely full: I filled up the bottle with water the office was filled with reporters
More example sentences
  • Spoon batter into muffin pan which has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray, filling each cup ¾ full.
  • We filled two bin liners full of broken glass, cans and bottles.
  • Do not fill the bottles too full as this drink is very fizzy.
make full, fill up, fill to the brim, top up, charge
crowd into, throng, pack (into), occupy, squeeze into, cram (into);
overcrowd, overfill
stock, pack, load, supply, replenish, restock, refill
block up, stop (up), plug, seal, caulk
1.1 [no object] (fill with) Become full of: Eleanor’s eyes filled with tears
More example sentences
  • A good example of this is the road that that runs past the Flying Doctor Base which is full of potholes and fills with water every time it rains.
  • I can't even look at a photograph or a small cross of steel without my eyes filling with tears.
  • When she exhales, a breeze blows the smoke into my eyes and makes them fill with tears.
1.2Become an overwhelming presence in: a pungent smell of garlic filled the air
More example sentences
  • The strong smell of his presence filled her senses and she found herself babbling uncontrollably, unable so stop.
  • Screams of nineteen other petrified people filled the air and pervaded my hearing.
  • The super-cute shop is always inviting, with the lovely smell of roses filling the air and rose petals scattered outside the entrance.
pervade, permeate, suffuse, be diffused through, penetrate, infuse, perfuse
1.3Cause (someone) to have an intense experience of an emotion or feeling: his presence filled us with foreboding
More example sentences
  • The fade-to-black at the end fills you with emotion and happiness; which is what a good film and a good song should do.
  • But as she explains to Jan Goodwin, her childhood was blighted by polio - an experience that filled her with fighting spirit
  • This experience does not fill me with confidence as to your abilities in the acquisition arena…
1.4Appoint a person to hold (a vacant position): the number of high-tech jobs and the people who can fill them
More example sentences
  • In 1913 Eddington was appointed to fill the vacant position of Plumian Professor of Astronomy.
  • It decided against filling the vacant post and the position won't be reviewed until later in the year.
  • He added that despite several requests, the state government was not filling the posts lying vacant in the corporation.
1.5Hold and perform the expected duties of (a position or role): she fills the role of the “good” child
More example sentences
  • She did a great job, considering she didn't have a clue and wasn't expecting to be filling this role.
  • Jon Parkin is set to play in defence and is expected to fill that role at Northampton on Saturday when Chris Smith and Darren Edmondson are both suspended.
  • It follows the departure from frontline politics of several MSPs who were expected to fill important roles when elected in 1999.
occupy, hold, take up
informal hold down
1.6Occupy or take up (a period of time): the next few days were filled with meetings
More example sentences
  • Months of social functions, illness and injuries have filled the intervening period.
  • In fact, the entire flight back was filled with chatter regarding how we planned to fill our days before the long cruise.
  • From the early seventies, the programmes started at 4.10, filling a ninety-minute period.
1.7chiefly North American Be supplied with the items described in (a prescription or order): she needed to fill a prescription
More example sentences
  • A register of prescriptions filled by local pharmacies provided continuous data on use of cholesterol lowering drugs.
  • After months of struggling to get enough chips to fill orders, supply is improving.
  • The basic job consists of maintaining the inventory of books and filling the orders from members as they come in.
1.8Block up (a cavity in a tooth) with cement, amalgam, or gold.
Example sentences
  • In six European countries, dentists cannot legally fill teeth with silver amalgam (mercury).
  • The compaction of amalgam into the cavity is not simply a matter of filling the hole.
  • No one likes to do it, no one likes to spend the money or time, but filling a cavity is a whole lot cheaper than having a root canal.
1.9 [no object] (Of a sail) curve out tautly as the wind blows into it.
Example sentences
  • The wind had risen, the ropes cracking and straining even louder as the sails filled to capacity.
  • For a while the ship kept bucking and sidling, the sails filling, now on one tack, now on another, till the mast groaned aloud under the strain.
  • Mark watched the other ship draw closer, sensing the increase in their own speed as the sails filled again and the oarsman got their rhythm.
1.10(Of a weather system) increase in barometric pressure. Compare with deepen.
1.11 [with object] (Of the wind) blow into (a sail), causing it to curve outward.
Example sentences
  • The wind filled the sails and the ropes creaked and stretched with the strain as the ship ploughed through the waves.
  • On its long Atlantic voyage, the armada made good progress with favourable winds filling the sails.
  • By the time I got my main down they'd headed off in a circle because the wind filled their downed sail and it was like trying to catch an insane dolphin - but I did.
1.12(In poker) complete (a good hand) by drawing the necessary cards.
Example sentences
  • Replace any cards you popped with ones from your hand (face up) and then draw card to fill your hand to five.
  • The dealer fills everyone's hand back to 6, and play resumes as normal.
  • Lee has 9-9 making top trips but he has to be wary of players staying with four-flushes and four-straights hoping to fill their hands.


1 (one's fill) An amount of something that is as much as one wants or can bear: we have eaten our fill I’ve had my fill of surprises for one day
More example sentences
  • Once you have had your fill of plain smoked salmon with brown bread and butter, think about using it in cooking.
  • As far as I'm concerned I've had my fill of Tim.
  • Well I've had my fill of fairness this afternoon.
2An amount of something that will occupy all the space in a container.
Example sentences
  • 7.48 A.M. I drop my brother off at Newlands Cross and get a fill of petrol in the station there.
  • Just £15 will buy you a fill of Perfect Storm - a heady mix of compressed air, nitrous oxide and gaseous caffeine.
  • The vouchers can be used to buy clothes, tyres, a fill of oil, groceries, electrical goods - the list goes on and on.
2.1Material, loose or compacted, that fills a space, especially in building or engineering work: loose polystyrene fill
More example sentences
  • It comes in lightweight easy-to-handle bags and should be used in the same manner as loose fill or cellulose.
  • Another method is to pour or blow in loose fill or cellulose insulation up to the joists for an even surface.
  • Suitable material was used as required for building highway fill.
2.2The action of filling something, especially of shading in a region of a computer graphics display.
Example sentences
  • In many cases, its playable image quality surpassed the GeForce 6800 Ultra thanks to its superior fill rate and memory bandwidth.
  • In looking at fill rate performance, we're looking at two things: pixel fill rate, and texture fill rate.
  • It has an eight-pixel pipeline, as does the S8, capable of a 2.4 billion pixels per second fill rate.
2.3(In popular music) a short interjected phrase on a particular instrument.
Example sentences
  • By the album's last few tracks, the fills outweigh the backbeats to the point where he's pushing fusion jazz territory.
  • Req doesn't spend time drawing complicated drum-and-bass fills into a sequencer.
  • As the drummer spits out a cacophony of quick-wristed rhythms and slashing fills, the music rages on to a cathartic finale.



fill the bill

see bill1.

fill someone's shoes

informal Take over someone’s function or duties and fulfill them satisfactorily.
Example sentences
  • Laura, literally, fills Kim's shoes for two days with the help of a ‘fat suit’ and makeup.
  • Nevertheless, anyone filling your shoes will find it a hard act to follow.
  • I decided to move on, and I'm sure there are plenty of good, young guys capable of filling my shoes.

Phrasal verbs


fill in

Act as a substitute for someone when they are unable to do their job: my producer will have to have someone standing by to fill in for me
More example sentences
  • With Brooks absent because of a knock, the little-used Frost filled in at left-back.
  • In the absence of first-hand testimony, conjecture fills in.
  • Marky Ramone fills in on drums and former Black Flag member Dez Cadena slings guitar.
substitute, deputize, stand in, cover, take over, act as stand-in, take the place of
informal sub, step into someone's shoes/boots, pinch-hit

fill someone in

1Inform someone more fully of a matter, giving all the details: the cab driver filled me in on much important economic and sociological data
More example sentences
  • Can anyone fill me in on these important matters.
  • When Steve fully awoke, Shield filled him in on the details.
  • Seriously, somebody fill me in here.
2British informal, dated Hit or punch someone: I filled in a chap and took his money
More example sentences
  • I filled in a chap and took his money.

fill something in

Put material into a hole, trench, or space so that it is completely full: the canal is now disused and partly filled in
3.1Complete a drawing by adding color or shade to the spaces within an outline: incised letters, filled in with gold
More example sentences
  • The island, water, ships and rigging are all filled in with warm shades of watercolor.
  • A few sections of the diagram are filled in with colour to create a shape that seems like a comet or some fantastic flying creature.
  • The artists had drawn the figures beforehand, and then filled them in like a paint-by-numbers picture, color by color.
chiefly British 3.2 Add information to complete something, typically a form or other official document: he filled in all the forms
More example sentences
  • So all you have to do is download this word document and fill it in and send it off.
  • This is very convenient as forms can be filled in by dragging the information and of course the password feature will auto fill.
  • But the project hit the headlines over allegations about the way applications for funds had been filled in before Mr Pierges took over.

fill out

(Of a person) put on weight to a noticeable extent.
Example sentences
  • Rugby players, after they have filled out to their hop-assisted unnatural weight, don't go to games.
  • But I really feel that when he fills out he's going to be a force to be reckoned with.
  • It is a simple repetitive action that should stand up well under pressure, and I can only see it getting better as he matures and fills out a bit.
grow fatter, become plumper, flesh out, put on weight, gain weight, get heavier

fill something out

Add information to complete an official form or document: he filled out the requisite forms
More example sentences
  • Once we filled it out and sent it in, we were officially a private school.
  • After the movie I was walking through the diner and noticed a women filling out some kind of report.
  • The chosen one fills out a form about themselves.
5.1Give more details to add to someone’s understanding of something: he filled out the background by going into historical questions
More example sentences
  • And there are several bits that would have filled the piece out: Side-effects from Plan B are less than in previous morning-after pills.
  • I'd like to try and fill out what he was getting at.
  • This meticulously researched book fills out his life and its achievements.

fill up

Become completely full: the dining car filled up
6.1Fill the fuel tank of a car.
Example sentences
  • What happens if you drive the car out of state and fill up with high-sulfur fuel?
  • The AA advises customers to shop around for fuel and to avoid filling up at motorway service stations.
  • Just recently a relative of mine was relieved of her handbag while getting into her car after filling up at a local petrol station.


Old English fyllan (verb), fyllu (noun) of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vullen and German füllen (verbs), Fülle (noun), also to full1.

Words that rhyme with fill

bill, Brazil, brill, Camille, chill, cookchill, dill, distil (US distill), downhill, drill, Edgehill, Estoril, freewill, frill, fulfil (US fulfill), Gill, goodwill, grill, grille, hill, ill, instil, kill, krill, mil, mill, nil, Phil, pill, quadrille, quill, rill, Seville, shill, shrill, sill, skill, spadille, spill, squill, still, stock-still, swill, thill, thrill, till, trill, twill, until, uphill, will

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fill

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