from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having a cavity, gap, or space within: a hollow wall.
  • adj. Deeply indented or concave; sunken: "His bearded face already has a set, hollow look” ( Conor Cruise O'Brien).
  • adj. Without substance or character: a hollow person. See Synonyms at vain.
  • adj. Devoid of truth or validity; specious: "Theirs is at best a hollow form of flattery” ( Annalyn Swan).
  • adj. Having a reverberating, sepulchral sound: hollow footsteps.
  • n. A cavity, gap, or space: a hollow behind a wall.
  • n. An indented or concave surface or area.
  • n. A void; an emptiness: a hollow in one's life.
  • n. A small valley between mountains.
  • transitive v. To make hollow: hollow out a pumpkin.
  • transitive v. To scoop or form by making concave: hollow out a nest in the sand.
  • intransitive v. To become hollow or empty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having an empty space or cavity inside.
  • adj. Distant, eerie; echoing, reverberating, as if in a hollow space; dull, muffled; often low-pitched.
  • adj. Without substance; having no real or significant worth; meaningless.
  • adj. Insincere, devoid of validity; specious.
  • n. A small valley between mountains; "he built himself a cabin in a hollow high up in the Rockies"
  • n. A sunken area in something solid.
  • n. A sunken area, the equivalent to a copse in British English.
  • n. A feeling of emptiness.
  • v. to make a hole in something; to excavate (transitive)
  • v. To urge or call by shouting; to hollo.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having an empty space or cavity, natural or artificial, within a solid substance; not solid; excavated in the interior
  • adj. Depressed; concave; gaunt; sunken.
  • adj. Reverberated from a cavity, or resembling such a sound; deep; muffled.
  • adj. Not sincere or faithful; false; deceitful; not sound
  • adv. Wholly; completely; utterly; -- chiefly after the verb to beat, and often with all. See all, adv.
  • n. A cavity, natural or artificial; an unfilled space within anything; a hole, a cavern; an excavation; as the hollow of the hand or of a tree.
  • n. A low spot surrounded by elevations; a depressed part of a surface; a concavity; a channel.
  • interj. Hollo.
  • intransitive v. To shout; to hollo.
  • transitive v. To make hollow, as by digging, cutting, or engraving; to excavate.
  • transitive v. To urge or call by shouting.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A cavity; a depression or an excavation below the general level, as of the ground, or in the substance of anything; an empty space in anything; a concavity.
  • n. Specifically, a concave space of ground; a piece or tract of land lower than the general level, or hemmed in by hills: used in many place-names in the United States: as, Sleepy Hollow in New York.
  • n. A concave plane used in working moldings.
  • n. A strip of thick paper or of pasteboard cut to the exact height and thickness required for a book for which the boards and cloth are intended, and which acts as a gage for the guidance of the case-makers, and as a stiffener for the cloth at the back of the book between the boards.
  • Having a cavity within; having an empty space in the interior: as, a hollow tree; a hollow rock; a hollow sphere.
  • Having a concavity; concave; sunken: as, a hollow way or road.
  • Resembling sound reverberated from a cavity, or producing such a sound; deep; low.
  • Empty; without contents; hence, without pith or substance; fruitless; worthless: as, a hollow victory; a hollow argument.
  • Not sincere or faithful; false; deceitful; not sound: as, a hollow heart.
  • Void of meaning or truth; empty; baseless: as, hollow oaths; a hollow mockery.
  • Thorough; complete; out-and-out.
  • Having, as wool, the fibers torn apart, so that it is light and open.
  • Synonyms Empty, void, cavernous.
  • Faithless, iusincere, treacherous, hypocritical.
  • To make hollow; excavate; make empty.
  • To bend into a curved or concave form.
  • Beyond doubt or question; utterly; completely; out-and-out: often with all for emphasis: as, he beat him hollow, or all hollow; he carried it hollow.
  • A variant of hollo.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a cavity or space in something
  • adj. devoid of significance or point
  • n. a small valley between mountains
  • adj. not solid; having a space or gap or cavity
  • n. a depression hollowed out of solid matter
  • adj. as if echoing in a hollow space
  • v. remove the interior of
  • v. remove the inner part or the core of


Middle English holwe, holowe, from holgh, hole, burrow (influenced by hole, hollow), from Old English holh; see kel-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English holw, holh, from Old English hol ("hollow"), from Proto-Germanic *hulaz (compare Dutch hol, German hohl, Danish hul), from Proto-Indo-European *k̑ówHilo- (compare Albanian thellë ("deep"), Ancient Greek κοῖλος (koĩlos, "hollow")', Avestan  (sūra), Sanskrit  (kulyā, "brook, ditch")), from *k̑ówH- (“cavity”). More at cave. (Wiktionary)
Middle English holow, earlier holgh, from Old English holh ("a hollow")', from hol ("hollow (adj.)"). See above. (Wiktionary)


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