Definition of hole in English:

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Pronunciation: /hōl/


1A hollow place in a solid body or surface: he dug out a small hole in the snow
More example sentences
  • Transplant the seedlings in the normal manner by making a small hole through the surface mulch/manure and plant them into it.
  • Jay mounded flour, made a hole in it, and dumped in a pinch of salt and then an egg.
  • He's been out in the car park for the last couple of weeks, digging a big hole in the ground.
pit, ditch, trench, cavity, crater, depression, indentation, hollow;
well, borehole, excavation, dugout;
cave, cavern, pothole
1.1An animal’s burrow.
Example sentences
  • While walking this earth he commented that foxes had holes and birds had nests in which to live, but he had ‘nowhere to lay his head’.
  • Hounds that have successfully tracked a fox are trained to pull it or dig it out of its hole, and the fox is killed.
  • From holes, burrows, and crevices, the creatures of the desert night crawled.
burrow, lair, den, earth, set;
retreat, shelter
1.2An aperture passing through something: he had a hole in his sock
More example sentences
  • Take a large sewing needle to puncture evenly spaced holes around the top and bottom of the shade.
  • We worked along the steel wall passing large circular holes where the heavy brass portholes had once been.
  • The roof is leaking, there are holes in the floor, the sewage pipes are broken, the heating doesn't work - there is no money in the kitty.
opening, aperture, gap, space, orifice, vent, chink, breach, break;
crack, leak, rift, rupture;
puncture, perforation, cut, split, gash, slit, rent, tear, crevice, fissure
1.3A cavity or receptacle on a golf course, typically one of eighteen or nine, into which the ball must be hit.
Example sentences
  • Steve Ryser and Mike Franklin sunk a long putt each on holes nine and eighteen respectively.
  • Lytham is a classic seaside links, nine flattish holes out, nine flattish holes in.
  • This usually occurs on short putts as golfers try to steer the ball toward the hole.
1.4A hole as representing a division of a golf course or of play in golf: Stephen lost the first three holes to Eric
More example sentences
  • They completed 72 holes at four golf courses in one day to raise more than £10,000 for Cancer Research.
  • The extent of my golf experience comes down to 18 holes on the miniature golf course at Nifty Fifty's.
  • Top lawyers to play 18 holes at 18 golf courses in 12 hours to raise funds for meningitis research
1.5 Physics A position from which an electron is absent, especially one regarded as a mobile carrier of positive charge in a semiconductor.
Example sentences
  • This process leaves the top and bottom surfaces with an excess of charge which attracts mobile electrons or holes.
  • Electrons are not the only charge carriers; holes, or open spaces in bonding sites can also be used in conduction.
  • Irradiating such quantum dots with ultraviolet light creates excited electrons and the positive holes they leave behind.
1.6 [in place names] A valley: Jackson Hole
More example sentences
  • Tonight's report takes us to the Grand Teton National Park, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
2 informal A small or unpleasant place: she had wasted a whole lifetime in this hole of a town
More example sentences
  • Her sudden idea to bring Ryan with her, to the hole of a town she originated from, had not been discussed with him.
  • Students were aggrieved at the possibility of being ‘stuck renting a hole in Cowley’ as Jessop put it.
  • Four more fights in this hole before we get the hell out of here.
hovel, slum, shack
informal dump, dive, pigsty, hole in the wall, rathole, sty
2.1 informal An awkward situation: get yourself out of a hole
More example sentences
  • The stage was huge - the World Cup - his team was in a hole, and the situation was certainly death or glory.
  • The criticism of the state companies has surfaced at a time when they appear to be climbing out of the financial holes into which they stumbled in the 1990s.
  • It took us 20 years to get in this hole and it's going to take us 20 years to get out.
predicament, difficult situation, awkward situation, corner, tight corner, quandary, dilemma;
crisis, emergency, difficulty, trouble, plight, dire straits, imbroglio
informal fix, jam, mess, bind, scrape, spot, tight spot, pickle, sticky situation, can of worms, hot water


[with object]
1Make a hole or holes in: a fuel tank was holed by the attack and a fire started
More example sentences
  • Two days later it was holed and drifting landwards with oil gushing out of its tanks.
  • Casualties were light but they lost one of their ships when it hit a rock and was holed.
  • The vessel was holed in numerous tanks with loss of crude and resultant pollution.
2 Golf Hit (the ball) so that it falls into a hole: alternate shots from each partner until the ball is holed [no object]: he holed in one at the third
More example sentences
  • Magnificently, he holed the shot and allowed himself to smile again.
  • I'm swinging the club the way I want to, the putter is okay too, it's just that I'm holing nothing.
  • I wasn't at the green when he holed the putt and punched the air four or five times, but it remains one of my strongest memories, even now.



blow a hole in

Ruin the effectiveness of (something): the amendment could blow a hole in the legislation
More example sentences
  • If you love eating out, all you really need to know to avoid blowing a hole in your healthy eating plans is which dishes to go for and which to avoid.
  • The SPA, he says, blows a hole in government plans for more than 200,000 new homes by 2016 in the Thames Basin and Thames Gateway areas.
  • As he tries to explain this theory, Gonzales blows a hole in it himself.

in the hole

North American informal In debt: we’re still three thousand dollars in the hole
More example sentences
  • So the crash, when it comes, is going to leave a lot of people deep in the hole.
  • In other words, they planned to go in the hole, but they didn't go in the hole as much as they thought.
  • Instead of paying once, you pay twice and the deeper you get in the hole, the more they control you.
in debt, in arrears, in deficit, overdrawn, behind
informal in the red

in holes

Worn so much that holes have formed: my clothes are in holes
More example sentences
  • I don't care if my clothes are in holes, or the curtains have shrunk or the rugs are threadbare.

make a hole in

Use a large amount of: holidays can make a big hole in your savings
More example sentences
  • If you have set up a home and want to dress it up without making a hole in your pocket then here is an option.
  • The markets are a cornucopia of plenty and the prices won't make a hole in your pocket.
  • It certainly would make a hole in the $6.5 billion tax surplus that was announced yesterday.

need something like a hole in the head

informal Used to emphasize that someone has absolutely no need or desire for something.
Example sentences
  • This club has already been dragged through the courts more than enough and needs another tribunal like a hole in the head.
  • ‘We needed his injury like a hole in the head,’ said Godfrey of Smith.
  • On the other hand, I need another expense like a hole in the head.

a square peg in a round hole

see peg.

Phrasal verbs


hole out

Golf Send the ball into a hole.
Example sentences
  • Tiger Woods holes out for a birdie and is now two clear of the field.
  • He missed a short putt on the fifth, and after holing out he dropped the ball on the green and in his frustration made a practice putt.
  • He holed out from the 14th fairway on Sunday for an eagle that gave him a share of the lead.

hole up

informal Hide oneself: I holed up for two days in a tiny cottage in Pennsylvania
More example sentences
  • A Russion oil tycoon holes up in London after some dodgy dealings in his home country.
  • Having robbed her boss's safe in order to get married, she holes up overnight at the sinister Bates motel.
  • I've come to the realization lately that I've been holing up in my apartment way too much for far too long.
hide (out), conceal oneself, secrete oneself, shelter, take cover, lie low



Pronunciation: /ˈhōlē/
Example sentences
  • Others had big hats, including some triangular ones in the shape of holey cheese.
  • In front is a tatty metal-roofed house on stilts with walls of thin, holey plywood daubed in graffiti.
  • You're instructed to throw away all your laddered tights, holey socks and sad-looking bras.


Old English hol (noun), holian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hol (noun) 'cave', (adjective) 'hollow', and German hohl 'hollow', from an Indo-European root meaning 'cover, conceal'.

Words that rhyme with hole

barcarole, bole, bowl, cajole, coal, Cole, condole, console, control, dhole, dole, droll, enrol (US enroll), extol, foal, goal, Joel, knoll, kohl, mol, mole, Nicole, parol, parole, patrol, pole, poll, prole, rôle, roll, scroll, Seoul, shoal, skoal, sole, soul, stole, stroll, thole, Tirol, toad-in-the-hole, toll, troll, vole, whole

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hole

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