Definition of hollow in English:


Syllabification: hol·low
Pronunciation: /ˈhälō


  • 1Having a hole or empty space inside: each fiber has a hollow core
    More example sentences
    • The inside was black and hollow, making it look like an empty tube.
    • Only the grimy streets and the hollow shell of his mother's home remain.
    • The framework is basically a hollow cylinder of collagenous connective tissue, the skin.
    empty, void, unfilled, vacant
  • 1.1(Of a thing) having a depression in its surface; concave: hollow cheeks
    More example sentences
    • Facial wasting, a condition identified by sunken cheeks, hollow eyes and temples is caused by a loss of fat tissue under the skin.
    • They had hollow eyes and sunken cheeks, and they wailed horribly in the darkness.
    • Her cheeks were sunken and hollow, her body almost frail-looking, her hair limp and sticking to her face.
  • 1.2(Of a sound) echoing, as though made in or on an empty container: a hollow cough
    More example sentences
    • The cold, hollow sounds of their steps echoing behind them made the little hairs on the back of his neck rise.
    • I dropped the pole and it clattered to the pier with a hollow thunk.
    • It hit a tree with a hollow clunk and bounced back to land at his feet.
    dull, low, flat, toneless, expressionless; muffled, muted


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  • 1A hole or depression in something: a hollow at the base of a large tree
    More example sentences
    • European Starlings are cavity nesters, and nests are generally located in natural hollows, old woodpecker holes, birdhouses, or building eaves and crevices.
    • I pulled the last button through what I hoped was its corresponding hole just below the hollow of my neck, and for the first time looked down at my breakfast.
    • How convenient it was that all the prey species were excavating holes and hollows and leafy chambers, and stuffing them with helpless nestlings just when he needed them.
    hole, pit, cavity, crater, trough, bowl, cave, cavern; depression, indentation, dip, dent; niche, nook, cranny, recess
  • 1.1A small valley: the house fell behind as they climbed out of the hollow
    More example sentences
    • A thaw finally set in but the snow remained in many hollows and mountainous areas right into the summer of that year.
    • Cool, humid air after the warmth of the city, and patches of fog in the hollows; smells of car exhaust on the way out, and fishy smells once we got there.
    • In the hollow of this tiny valley, lay a white public house.
    valley, vale, dale, basin, glen
    literary dell


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  • 1Form by making a hole: a tunnel was hollowed out in a mountain range
    More example sentences
    • The room was circular and looked like it had been hollowed out from some giant tree.
    • Two floors were hollowed out of the hillside beneath the Research Station, so that the facility could withstand a direct hit from a German bomb.
    • It's about three feet long and was hollowed out naturally by termites, which is the way they are made.
    gouge, scoop, dig, shovel, cut; excavate, channel
  • 1.1Make a depression in.
    More example sentences
    • The rock is soft enough to be hollowed out, but it remains solid and waterproof.


beat someone hollow

Defeat or surpass someone completely or thoroughly.
More example sentences
  • Irish landlords were bad enough in the past, but this new importation from England beats them hollow.
  • I had the pleasure of beating him hollow at Pro Evolution Soccer 4.
  • Team-Pakistan beat India hollow at the Kotla grounds.

in the hollow of one's hand

Entirely in one’s power: great events lay in the hollow of his hand



More example sentences
  • He called out, listening to his voice echo hollowly.
  • The sound echoed hollowly off the cavernous walls.
  • However, styling does remain a vital part of fashion's vocabulary, and if it's not hollowly peddling the same old clothes it can be rather thrilling.


More example sentences
  • The corruption and hollowness revealed in the prosecution of this war are too contemptible for words.
  • Their faces have taken on a sort of hollowness as they have aged.
  • I really miss my children, and that hollowness in my stomach that represents all that sadness never leaves me.


Old English holh 'cave'; obscurely related to hole.

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