What does hollow mean?

Definitions for hollow
ˈhɒl oʊhol·low

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word hollow.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. hollownoun

    a cavity or space in something

    "hunger had caused the hollows in their cheeks"

  2. hollow, hollernoun

    a small valley between mountains

    "he built himself a cabin in a hollow high up in the Appalachians"

  3. hole, hollowadjective

    a depression hollowed out of solid matter

  4. hollowadjective

    not solid; having a space or gap or cavity

    "a hollow wall"; "a hollow tree"; "hollow cheeks"; "his face became gaunter and more hollow with each year"

  5. hollowadjective

    as if echoing in a hollow space

    "the hollow sound of footsteps in the empty ballroom"

  6. empty, hollow, vacuousverb

    devoid of significance or point

    "empty promises"; "a hollow victory"; "vacuous comments"

  7. excavate, dig, hollowverb

    remove the inner part or the core of

    "the mining company wants to excavate the hillside"

  8. hollow, hollow out, core outverb

    remove the interior of

    "hollow out a tree trunk"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Hollowadjective

    Etymology: from hole.

    It is fortune’s use
    To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
    To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
    An age of poverty. William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice.

    Some search for hollow trees, and fell the woods. Dryden.

    He frets, he fumes, he stares, he stamps the ground;
    The hollow tow’rs with clamours ring around. Dryden.

    The southern wind,
    Now by his hollow whistling in the leaves,
    Foretels a tempest. William Shakespeare, Henry IV. p. i.

    Thence issu’d such a blast and hollow roar,
    As threaten’d from the hinge to heave the door. Dryden.

    Who in want a hollow friend doth try,
    Directly seasons him his enemy. William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

    Hollow church papists are like the roots of nettles, which themselves sting not; but yet they bear all the stinging leaves. Francis Bacon, Ornam. Ration.

    He seem’d
    For dignity compos’d, and high exploit;
    But all was false and hollow. John Milton, Par. Lost, b. ii.

    What could be expected from him, but knotty and crooked hollow hearted dealings? James Howell, Vocal Forrest.

    The hollow hearted, disaffected,
    And close malignants are detected. Hudibras, p. iii.

  2. Hollownoun

    I’ve heard myself proclaim’d,
    And by the happy hollow of a tree
    Escap’d the hunt. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    I suppose there is some vault or hollow, or isle, behind the wall, and some passage to it. Francis Bacon, Natural History.

    Against the horse’s side his spear
    He throws, which trembles with enclosed fear;
    Whilst from the hollows of his womb proceed
    Groans, not his own. John Denham.

    Himself, as in the hollow of his hand,
    Holding, obedient to his high command,
    The deep abyss. Matthew Prior.

    Who art thou, that lately did’st descend
    Into this gaping hollow of the earth? William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus.

    Forests grew
    Upon the barren hollows, high o’ershading
    The haunts of savage beasts. Matthew Prior.

    A fine genius for gardening thought of forming such an unsightly hollow into so uncommon and agreeable a scene. Addis.

    He touched the hollow of his thigh. Gen. xxii. 25.

    The little springs and rills are conveyed through little channels into the main hollow of the aqueduct. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

  3. To Hollowverb

    To make hollow; to excavate.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Trees, rudely hollow’d, did the waves sustain,
    ’Ere ships in triumph plow’d the watry plain. John Dryden, Ovid.

    Multitudes were employed in the sinking of wells, the digging of trenches, and the hollowing of trees. Spectator.

  4. To Hollowverb

    To shout; to hoot.

    This unseen judge will wait, and in your ear
    Will hollow rebel, tyrant, murderer. John Dryden, Aurengzebe.

    I pass for a disaffected person and a murderer, for no other reason but because I do not hoot and hollow, and make a noise. Joseph Addison, Spectator.

    He with his hounds comes hollowing from the stable,
    Makes love with nods, and kneels beneath a table. Alexander Pope.


  1. Hollow

    "The Hollow is a single from A Perfect Circles 2000 album Mer de Noms. It serves as the opening track of the album, utilizing layered guitars. "The Hollow" was recorded in the key of B-flat minor and is arranged using a 6/8 time signature. Tim Alexander, drummer from the band Primus plays drums on the album version of the song. The song was remixed for the 2001 single release.


  1. hollow

    Hollow refers to something that is empty or void on the inside, having a space or cavity within. It can be applied to physical objects like a hollow tree or tube, or metaphorically to abstract concepts such as a hollow promise or hollow victory, implying lack of substance or genuine value.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Hollowadjective

    having an empty space or cavity, natural or artificial, within a solid substance; not solid; excavated in the interior; as, a hollow tree; a hollow sphere

  2. Hollowadjective

    depressed; concave; gaunt; sunken

  3. Hollowadjective

    reverberated from a cavity, or resembling such a sound; deep; muffled; as, a hollow roar

  4. Hollowadjective

    not sincere or faithful; false; deceitful; not sound; as, a hollow heart; a hollow friend

  5. Hollownoun

    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

  6. Hollownoun

    a low spot surrounded by elevations; a depressed part of a surface; a concavity; a channel

  7. Hollowverb

    to make hollow, as by digging, cutting, or engraving; to excavate

  8. Hollowadverb

    wholly; completely; utterly; -- chiefly after the verb to beat, and often with all; as, this story beats the other all hollow. See All, adv

  9. Hollow


  10. Hollowverb

    to shout; to hollo

  11. Hollowverb

    to urge or call by shouting

  12. Etymology: [See Hollo.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Hollow

    hol′ō, adj. vacant: not solid: containing an empty space: sunken: unsound: insincere.—n. a hole: a cavity: any depression in a body: any vacuity: a groove: a channel.—v.t. to make a hole in: to make hollow by digging: to excavate.—adv. completely: clean.—adjs. Holl′ow-eyed, having sunken eyes; Holl′ow-heart′ed, having a hollow or untrue heart: faithless: treacherous.—adv. Holl′owly (Shak.), in a hollow or insincere manner.—ns. Holl′owness, the state of being hollow: cavity: insincerity: treachery; Holl′ow-ware, trade name for hollow articles of iron, as pots and kettles.—Beat hollow, to beat wholly. [A.S. holh, a hollow place—hol. See Hole.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. hollow

    The bore of a rocket. In naval architecture, a name for the fifth or top-timber-sweep (which see). Also, hollow or curved leeches of sails, in contradistinction to straight.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hollow is ranked #61436 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Hollow surname appeared 327 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Hollow.

    77.3% or 253 total occurrences were White.
    13.1% or 43 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    6.4% or 21 total occurrences were Black.
    2.4% or 8 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce hollow?

How to say hollow in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of hollow in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of hollow in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of hollow in a Sentence

  1. Chase Leblanc:

    Many try to be “on” as leaders & happy to be “off stage” but truly those that live their lives as leaders do not have to try to be the one & being worth a hollow follow on social media... it is not the same as being worth a soul commitment in a no shadows real life…

  2. Tony Sayegh:

    Among the more damaging is that it reveals another example of how hollow the ‘war on women’ argument is when coming from the Hillary camp, disabling that most favorite of perennial liberal ad hominem attacks is the equivalent of taking Superman's ability to leap tall buildings away, for both Anthony Weiner and Bill Clinton, their sexual misconduct went well beyond the realm of a ‘boys will be boys’ defense.And it was Hillary and Huma to the rescue all in the name personal advancement.That is not a story Hillary wants out there, especially through a more popular medium that has the ability to reach a broader audience.

  3. Geraldo Rivera:

    If you had done the obvious and saw the problem as it's manifesting itself -- it's no accident that you're facing an avalanche of criticism following that first trip you made to Guatemala and then to Mexico, she's declaring victory but it seems kind of hollow when the reality is so jarring compared to what she's actually accomplished.

  4. Sanjay Jha:

    He raised issues that mattered, unlike PM Modi, who indulged in hollow rhetoric.

  5. John Harold:

    Without trust, words become the hollow sound of a wooden gong. With trust, words become life itself.

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Translations for hollow

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"hollow." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 12 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/hollow>.

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