Definition of pothole in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɒthəʊl/


1A deep natural underground cave formed by the erosion of rock, especially by the action of water.
Example sentences
  • Bats spend the summer living in trees and buildings, and retreat to caves and potholes in winter, to hibernate.
  • A prehistoric occupation site was discovered at the bottom of a hollow some 600 sq. m. in area, resulting from the collapse of an underground pothole.
  • The second feature is a deep cave or pothole on Wet Rain Hill, just above Liz's Burn, called Bell Hollow.
1.1A deep circular hole in a riverbed formed by the erosion of the rock by the rotation of stones in an eddy.
Example sentences
  • Some environmental activists yesterday inspect the Nuanjiang section of the Keelung River, where geologically unique potholes are to be found.
  • They inhabit swift streams, the backwaters of large rivers, brackish lagoons, and potholes.
  • Balanced on a log suspended over a glacial pothole, she is searching the foot-deep water for endangered howellia and their delicate white florets no bigger than her baby finger.
1.2 (also pothole lake) North American A pond formed by a natural hollow in the ground in which water has collected: upstream were potholes from the recent rains where a pair of herons stood
More example sentences
  • The rolling hills of northern Wisconsin's glacial kettle moraine are densely forested with hardwoods, birch and aspen and pitted with potholes and lakes.
  • The valley is wet, the high benches are pocked with pothole lakes, springs, and ponds, and mastodons browse along a braided watercourse snaking across the bottomland at the foot of the cliff.
  • The refuge's north unit contains the 8,700-acre Medicine Lake, eight smaller lakes, and numerous pothole wetlands.
2A depression or hollow in a road surface caused by wear or subsidence: he drove very cautiously over the potholes in the road
More example sentences
  • The 4x4 can much more easily deal with his potholes and appalling road surfaces.
  • Tar is soluble in fossil fuels like diesel and petrol and oil spill loosens the road surface and potholes begin to form.
  • Our roads are full of potholes and irregular surfacing.


[no object] (often as noun potholing) British
Explore underground potholes as a pastime: they went potholing in the Pennines
More example sentences
  • Teams must navigate the course with map and compass and cover it through a prescribed combination of kayaking, mountain biking, trekking, climbing, horse riding and potholing.
  • After a date with a woman who enjoyed potholing and had a moustache, and one other appalling mismatch, I never used them again.
  • I was very impressed with this Yorkshire potholing, but my ladder climbing was abysmal and it took me more than half an hour to be dragged up the 91m daylight pitch of Long Kin West.



Example sentences
  • Thankfully someone had the bright idea to water down the dusty potholed road between Laborie and Piaye.
  • And as a result of all the growth, plush restaurants have popped up beside the potholed roads and property prices have shot up, especially for trendy condominiums.
  • Miscarraiges, dislocated shoulders, broken bones, damaged axels there is enough reason for people to be concerned over the city's potholed roads.


Pronunciation: /ˈpɒthəʊlə/
Example sentences
  • There was a four-day intensive course at headquarters in Birkenshaw, run by instructors who are experienced climbers and potholers.
  • We may ask potholers to establish a voluntary code of practice, such as not going in at dusk, when they may disturb the bats leaving the cave.
  • Earby potholers made a return visit to Pikedaw caves, between Settle and Malham, to continue their exploration of a previously undiscovered hole.


Early 19th century: from Middle English pot 'pit' (perhaps of Scandinavian origin) + hole.

Words that rhyme with pothole


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pot|hole

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