Meaning of HOLLOW in English


I. ˈhä(ˌ)lō, -_lə often -_ləw+V adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English holwe, holg, holh, from holg, holh hole, den, from Old English holh hole, hollow — more at hole


a. : constituting a depression or a low or excavated place

a hollow spot in the road

the force of the meteor's fall made a hollow place in the open plain

: curved or rounded inward : concave

the dish was covered by a hollow piece of metal

: sunken

hollow temples

b. : marked by hollows or sunken areas

his face became gaunter and more hollow with each passing year

c. of the sea : having deep-troughed waves

d. : having a concave face or surface — used of various tools especially when designed for curved work

hollow adz

hollow auger

hollow punch



(1) : having an empty space or cavity within : not solid

a hollow tree

hollow sphere

(2) of a two-dimensional figure : being in outline only : not filled in : consisting partly of unfilled spaces

hollow letters

b. : empty

a hollow walnut

a hollow feeling in the stomach


(1) : devoid of worth, value, significance, or substance

a hollow victory

a hollow gain

the whole celebration seems strangely hollow and unreal — W.F.Hambly

the hollow position taken by the opposition

: lacking in qualities that give substance, worth, or moral or intellectual solidity

men of social significance but essentially hollow

(2) : devoid of any significant ideas, principles, or purposes

we are the hollow men — T.S.Eliot

a hollow generation of youths

d. : having hollow spaces in the interior ; especially : having a net area less than 75 percent of the gross area — used of a masonry unit (as a brick or building tile)


a. : sounding or reverberating like a sound made in a cave or large empty enclosure : muffled and sepulchral : breathy and lacking in overtones : producing confused echoes

the car in the empty garage started with a hollow roar

the hollow echo of the monkeys' call — M.P.O'Connor

the hollow subdued sound of the wind outside — Robert Murphy

b. : making or being a sound of or as if of beating on a hollow enclosure

the hollow drumming of horses' hooves on the bridge

4. : marked by insincerity or lack of good faith

a hollow greeting to an enemy

a hollow promise

: false , deceitful , treacherous

a hollow heart

a hollow truce

talk about war aims sounded hollow to them — F.L.Allen

5. : complete , thorough

Synonyms: see vain

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English holwen, from holwe, adjective

transitive verb


a. : to make hollow : form an indentation or concavity in — usually used with out

hollow out half of a coconut shell

hollowed a place out in the cliffside where he could hide

b. : to make concave or cause to be curved or rounded inward

the can cover must be cut in two, and each half so hollowed as to fit around the pipe — Emily Holt

the short double woolly scarf which you could hollow into a cap — Fred Majdalany


(1) : to gouge, dig, or scrape the inside out of — usually used with out

hollowed out a stump and filled it with concrete

(2) : gut — often used with out

dozens of dead cities, their insides hollowed out by dynamite and fire — Norman Cousins

2. : to form by hollowing something out

rain barrels hollowed out from trees — Robert Shaplen

: excavate — usually used with out

engineers hollowed out a tunnel through the mountain

intransitive verb

: to become hollow

her cheeks hollowed suddenly as she sucked in her breath

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: hollow (I)

1. : a low spot surrounded by elevations : a depressed or low part of a surface : concavity , channel , basin

driving down through the hollow in the road

the hollow of the hand

especially : a small valley : ravine , notch , dingle


a. : an unfilled space within anything : cavity , hole

in the hollow of a tree

b. : an area marked by such a space or cavity

the horse buses rumble by, dropping a note as their hooves strike the hollow of the bridge — Times Literary Supplement

pounding on the hollow of the wall

IV. adverb

Etymology: hollow (I)

: hollowly

the attacks on him rang hollow because he had proved his honesty and integrity

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.