Definition of hole in English:



  • 1A hollow place in a solid body or surface.

    ‘the dog had dug a hole in the ground’
    • ‘It came to rest just below the surface, leaving a hole 18 inches in diameter and sending up a large white cloud.’
    • ‘He dug a small hole in the ground and placed the seed in it.’
    • ‘He said some of the holes in the road surface were as deep as eight inches.’
    • ‘Using a pencil, tease out the young plant from the seed tray and make a hole in the compost deep enough to take the roots of the seedling.’
    • ‘For instance there were certain stones to be found in fields or graveyards with a hole or hollow which at times was full of water.’
    • ‘It took forever but soon they had dug three holes and placed the bodies inside before covering them back up.’
    • ‘There were large holes in the playing surface on one side of the pitch.’
    • ‘After almost an hour, rescuers took his body from the hole, and paramedics declared him dead at the scene.’
    • ‘Just two weeks ago the bridge was temporarily closed while city officials repaired a gaping hole in its deteriorating surface.’
    • ‘The new pictures show that most of the moon is dark, but impacts have blasted holes in the surface to reveal much brighter material underneath, which is probably a mixture of ices.’
    • ‘The crash occurred when the truck, driving at a high speed, failed to avoid large holes in the surface of the road.’
    • ‘‘I saw women and children having to dig deep holes in the ground, often over eight metres, and climb down into them to find water,’ he said.’
    • ‘And, as many cyclists would testify, smooth roads without pitted surfaces and random holes would be a good start.’
    • ‘I headed out for the backyard where I proceeded to dig about a zillion holes in the ground searching for gold doubloons.’
    • ‘Returning to the garbage bag, he began to dig a large hole in the ground, into which he dumped the sack.’
    • ‘Transplant the seedlings in the normal manner by making a small hole through the surface mulch/manure and plant them into it.’
    • ‘They feed by probing, and leave bands of holes along a beach where they have stuck their beaks into the sand probing for food.’
    • ‘He's been out in the car park for the last couple of weeks, digging a big hole in the ground.’
    • ‘The cheapest and most ecologically sound way to build a swimming pool is simply to hollow a hole in the ground.’
    • ‘Jay mounded flour, made a hole in it, and dumped in a pinch of salt and then an egg.’
    pit, ditch, trench, cavity, crater, depression, hollow
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    1. 1.1An aperture passing through something.
      ‘he had a hole in his sock’
      • ‘The government initially said the submarine had found 14 cracks or holes through which oil was leaking.’
      • ‘Mr Stoff said he did not find anything inside the store, but the vandals had made a hole in its window.’
      • ‘Mr Tincombe has tried various traps and boarded up holes the rats have got through, but says they are attracted by a compost bin next door.’
      • ‘Shattered glass on the bus seats greeted the first driver to arrive for work, who discovered that vandals had broken in through a hole in the fence.’
      • ‘The window pane of the restaurant was broken, leaving a hole 30 centimetres in diameter.’
      • ‘At the centre of the dome is an oculus, a circular hole, which is the only source of light.’
      • ‘The majority of schools need some form of restoration because of crumbling walls, bullet holes, broken windows and leaking roofs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As the letter was carried from the FBI to the Army lab, some powder leaked from a hole in the envelope into the plastic bag containing it.’
      • ‘Has it ever occurred to you that maybe I want holes in my socks?’
      • ‘Gaping holes puncture the walls, leaving glimpses of lifeless interiors through jagged brickwork and shattered windows.’
      • ‘Throw a towel or jacket over the bird, put it in a box or container with air holes and take it to the nearest animal shelter or wildlife rehabilitation center.’
      • ‘I made a hole in a black bin bag and put my head through it like some sort of black, plastic tabard.’
      • ‘Someone had broken a hole in a meshed railing and people came through it and across the railway track to the Quay.’
      • ‘We worked along the steel wall passing large circular holes where the heavy brass portholes had once been.’
      • ‘Each acorn was cleaned, weighed, and examined for insect larvae exit holes, splits in the shell, and protruding radicles.’
      • ‘I also discovered that most of his socks have holes in them.’
      • ‘Take a large sewing needle to puncture evenly spaced holes around the top and bottom of the shade.’
      • ‘Choose a leather strap in pink, blue, white or black and then customize it by punching out the perforated holes to get your message across.’
      • ‘Suction occurs when there is a hole or fissure in the dam wall on the upstream side, and it means death for divers.’
      • ‘Cut a cross-shaped hole out of the back of your t-shirt and go get sunburnt.’
      opening, aperture, gap, space, orifice, slot, vent, outlet, chink, breach
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    2. 1.2A cavity or receptacle on a golf course, typically one of eighteen or nine, into which the ball must be hit.
      • ‘Base your decision on pace depending on what will happen to the ball after the hole.’
      • ‘I made eagle on the same hole last year and albatross this year: I'm going to struggle to keep that going next year.’
      • ‘When your putting goes sour in the middle of a round, here's how to get the ball rolling into the hole.’
      • ‘I tried to focus on the speed and knew my adrenaline would get the ball to the hole.’
      • ‘Although his personal tussle with partner Lyle fizzled out, Jacobson admitted he had been nervous and uncomfortable in the opening holes.’
      • ‘You may face a longer putt by not being able to work the ball closer to the hole, but you will be safely on the green.’
      • ‘Instead of trying to just hit the green, you're trying to get the ball close to the hole.’
      • ‘There is an air of anticipation among golfers in the wake of the green light for the extension of the course to eighteen holes.’
      • ‘He'd just pick the ball out of the hole, hand me the putter and beeline for the next tee.’
      • ‘And if they hit the green, they hope the ball stays below the hole; anything putted from above will likely run off.’
      • ‘I thought if I could hit my lob wedge and stop the ball below the hole, I had a shot at par.’
      • ‘This usually occurs on short putts as golfers try to steer the ball toward the hole.’
      • ‘So when I turned pro, one of my gimmicks was to throw my hat over the hole so the ball wouldn't pop out.’
      • ‘Lytham is a classic seaside links, nine flattish holes out, nine flattish holes in.’
      • ‘The big talking point was the speed of the greens and many a golfer paid the price of leaving the ball above the hole with four putts as a reward.’
      • ‘On the putting surface, the track of the ball to the hole is in their mind's eye as exact as the lines on a graph.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the Dingle man managed to get his ball just nine metres from the hole but it was a very credible attempt for someone unused to the tee.’
      • ‘As a result, they hit it, and the ball breaks across the hole and below it, and it never has a chance to go in.’
      • ‘Steve Ryser and Mike Franklin sunk a long putt each on holes nine and eighteen respectively.’
      • ‘Your eyes can follow the ball to the hole, but your spine angle stays the same.’
    3. 1.3One of the sections of a golf course or the divisions of play in a game of golf.
      ‘Stephen lost the first three holes to Eric’
      • ‘They completed 72 holes at four golf courses in one day to raise more than £10,000 for Cancer Research.’
      • ‘Woods found the rough with an iron at the first, thereby setting the tone for his concession of two strokes in his opening three holes.’
      • ‘I knew I was playing pretty well when we stopped after nine holes to have lunch.’
      • ‘The Ulsterman made 32 plodding pars in his opening 36 holes.’
      • ‘Yesterday, although refusing to buckle under the pressure, Montgomerie was undone by a poor putting performance over the opening nine holes.’
      • ‘Because of this the tournament was reduced to a 36 hole event.’
      • ‘So torrential was the downpour, that the fourth round, which had already started - it was 36 holes a day - was abandoned.’
      • ‘Harrington, who withdrew from the Open, was four under after nine holes but came home in 38 for a two under 70.’
      • ‘No less of an authority than Jack Nicklaus called it the hardest hole in tournament golf.’
      • ‘I decided to play nine holes on the Notre Dame golf course early, before she met me at my dorm.’
      • ‘Parkin was two holes up after nine holes, scoring a birdie at the fourth and eagling the ninth to score 33.’
      • ‘Despite the better ball format it took the Americans nine holes to produce a birdie, which was only good enough for a half.’
      • ‘He once walked off the course after only a few holes of his opening practice round and withdrew from the upcoming Wales Open.’
      • ‘Top lawyers to play 18 holes at 18 golf courses in 12 hours to raise funds for meningitis research’
      • ‘I went back last year and it costs $5 to play nine holes and they do 50,000 rounds a year.’
      • ‘Garrido's round was achieved without the use of his driver, which he broke at the second hole on Friday.’
      • ‘Hoey found himself two down after the opening two holes but he had turned that deficit into a one hole advantage by lunch time.’
      • ‘Going back a few years, 36 holes a day was a standard in major championships.’
      • ‘It can be found, I think, on the golf course, when four friends gather for their weekly nine or eighteen holes.’
      • ‘The extent of my golf experience comes down to 18 holes on the miniature golf course at Nifty Fifty's.’
    4. 1.4An animal's burrow.
      ‘a fox's hole’
      • ‘From holes, burrows, and crevices, the creatures of the desert night crawled.’
      • ‘Except when you find the foxhole and the dogs go in, there's not a fox, but a weasel cowering in the corner of the hole.’
      • ‘How convenient it was that all the prey species were excavating holes and hollows and leafy chambers.’
      • ‘Other holes have been burrowed to accommodate the reef's larger residents, which give it its popular name, Conger Alley.’
      • ‘They were slippery with mud, filled with rabbit burrows and gopher holes and rather high up.’
      • ‘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.’
      burrow, lair, den, covert, earth, sett, drey, retreat, shelter, cave
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    5. 1.5[in place names]A valley.
      ‘Seaton Hole’
      • ‘Tonight's report takes us to the Grand Teton National Park, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.’
    6. 1.6Physics A position from which an electron is absent, especially one regarded as a mobile carrier of positive charge in a semiconductor.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And if the gate voltage is set just right, equal numbers of electrons and holes can flow through the tube in opposite directions at the same time.’
      • ‘When an electron and a hole interact in a polymer, quantum mechanics tells us that their spins can combine in four different ways.’
      • ‘Irradiating such quantum dots with ultraviolet light creates excited electrons and the positive holes they leave behind.’
  • 2A place or position that needs to be filled because someone or something is no longer there.

    ‘she is missed terribly and her death has left a hole in all our lives’
    • ‘In an emotional message days after Ivan's death, Mr Cameron told of the "hole" left in his life by the youngster's death.’
    1. 2.1A shortcoming, weakness, or flaw in a plan, argument, etc.
      ‘intriguing as it sounds, the theory is full of holes’
      • ‘This leaves a hole where its positive agenda should be.’
      • ‘I don't believe that you can build a conclusive argument either for or against a ban, as there are inevitably going to be serious holes in both arguments.’
      • ‘People in the industry will spot holes in this legislation in all sorts of directions, and I am afraid that they have already spotted some.’
      • ‘Good on the surface, but as many have pointed out, all the plot holes and problems show up when you think about it for more than 10 seconds.’
      • ‘It looks like the full report is not out until Monday, but I think I have already spotted the enormous hole in it.’
      • ‘One insider said the reason for the explosion of counterfeiting was the hole still existing in the law.’
      • ‘The hole in Jim's argument is that, before WWI, they said that capitalism wouldn't allow it.’
      • ‘It's totally daft and has plot holes you can drive a bus through.’
      • ‘We need not only to discover what went wrong with the police - and why - but also how the CPS failed to spot the gaping holes in the evidence.’
      • ‘Now, it doesn't take a genius to spot the glaring hole here.’
      • ‘The agenda is interesting, but with glaring holes where the problems of the world are.’
      • ‘Like too many of this government's initiatives, as soon as you start to examine the details gaping holes emerge.’
      • ‘That first budget would expose the holes in their plans: how to cut tax, while maintaining spending levels on public services and levering more money out of the private sector.’
      • ‘Within 24 hr of the announcement, wily business pilots had figured out the plan was full of holes.’
      • ‘In recent research, atmospheric scientists have been filling in holes in their basic knowledge about the ways that nature affects the chemistry of the atmosphere.’
      • ‘On one hand, the film is a terrible mess of plot holes, ridiculous premises, and overacting.’
      • ‘Is he afraid we will expose the huge holes in these fatally flawed proposals?’
      • ‘Did anyone else find the logic holes problematic?’
      • ‘That's mainly because I love the experience of going to see a film and think that that makes up for any plot holes you may encounter.’
      • ‘It's not fact, it's a theory, with holes you can drive a truck through.’
      flaw, fault, defect, weakness, weak point, shortcoming, inconsistency, discrepancy, loophole, error, mistake, fallacy
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  • 3informal An unpleasant place.

    ‘she had wasted a whole lifetime in this hole of a town’
    • ‘Students were aggrieved at the possibility of being ‘stuck renting a hole in Cowley’ as Jessop put it.’
    • ‘This place is a hole, the waiters are rude, the food expensive.’
    • ‘Her sudden idea to bring Ryan with her, to the hole of a town she originated from, had not been discussed with him.’
    • ‘You have no rights, only criminals and important people have rights in this hole of a country.’
    • ‘Four more fights in this hole before we get the hell out of here.’
    hovel, slum, shack, mess
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    1. 3.1An awkward situation.
      ‘the team are in a bit of a hole and it's a case of seeing if they can dig themselves out’
      • ‘When you're in a hole, like we are, the challenge of leadership is a lot harder.’
      • ‘The police are incapable of satisfying all these demands, so we're in a hole.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The stage was huge - the World Cup - his team was in a hole, and the situation was certainly death or glory.’
      • ‘He pulled the club out of a big hole, but he is a businessman and he made his money back.’
      • ‘But with the electoral countdown ticking away, his government badly needs to pull itself out of a hole.’


  • 1Make a hole or holes in.

    ‘a fuel tank was holed by the attack and a fire started’
    • ‘The slick is estimated to contain some 11,000 tonnes of fuel oil - far bigger than the initial oil spill produced when one of the Prestige's tanks was holed, on November 13.’
    • ‘The slick close to Spain's shores was bigger than the 5,000 tons of fuel oil spilled when the Prestige was holed off the Galician coast on November 13.’
    • ‘There was a tiny hut with a corrugated roof which was thoughtfully holed in several places to permit stargazing.’
    • ‘Two days later it was holed and drifting landwards with oil gushing out of its tanks.’
    • ‘This attack only managed to hole her above the waterline and set her alight.’
    • ‘Daly, the boat is holed and fills with water at high tide.’
    • ‘The harbourmaster assessed the wreck, which was extensively holed, as unsalvageable.’
    • ‘Casualties were light but they lost one of their ships when it hit a rock and was holed.’
    • ‘Pumps were put on the vessel, which was holed, to keep it afloat so that boats could try and tow it from the rocks.’
    • ‘The Alliance went to Bonhomme's rescue but managed to do more harm than good, holing the Bonhomme so badly that she was eventually to sink after a fierce three-and-a-half-hour battle.’
    • ‘The tourists spoke of the moment their cruise in Antarctica turned into a real-life adventure after their liner was holed below the water line.’
    • ‘The vessel was holed in numerous tanks with loss of crude and resultant pollution.’
    puncture, make a hole in, perforate, pierce, penetrate, rupture, spike, stab, split, slit, rent, lacerate, gash, gore
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  • 2Golf
    Hit (the ball) into a hole.

    ‘George holed a six-iron shot from the fairway’
    [no object] ‘he holed out for a birdie’
    • ‘I'm swinging the club the way I want to, the putter is okay too, it's just that I'm holing nothing.’
    • ‘But a bad drive down the 17th led to only a par and when he pulled his approach to the last 45 feet wide he needed to hole it to win or three-putt to lose.’
    • ‘I holed a good number of putts all day, including a useful eighteen footer on my last green.’
    • ‘Jason Horner holed in one at the fifth in Saturday's club four-ball.’
    • ‘Malton and Norton GC 20-handicapper Mike Punchard holed in one for the first time in 15 years of playing the game on the 169-yard 17th hole.’
    • ‘I had to sit in the clubhouse and nervously watch as Michael holed about a 40-foot putt on No.17 for par to stay within one shot of me.’
    • ‘It looked as though it might affect him, but he said it did not and in practice on Monday he had holed in one on the 16th, admittedly with his third attempt.’
    • ‘Webb made birdie from a greenside bunker, but Sorenstam duly holed for eagle.’
    • ‘Magnificently, he holed the shot and allowed himself to smile again.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Then he holed for his par and the title.’
    • ‘He was one of five in a play-off for three places at Princes and went through in considerable style by holing a chip from seventy feet at the first tie hole.’
    • ‘Until the last putt is holed on 18, it doesn't matter.’
    • ‘What was impressive was, so shortly after holing the winning putt, just seconds after his moment of glory, Payne was thinking of my situation.’
    • ‘I holed about a 40-footer for birdie on the first hole, and Mr. McKay jumped up and high-fived me.’
    • ‘After he holed that putt he stayed calm, kept his gum working and just raised one finger.’
    • ‘While I was there, Nicklaus holed a birdie on the 16th.’
    • ‘I holed a 10-footer on the last and was sure it was going to get me in, but it didn't and it's disappointing I've not had another chance.’
    • ‘Having missed the green with his approach and left with a bunker between himself and the pin, he holed the chip for a birdie to finish in 76 for a total of 152, ten over par.’
    • ‘I cut a driver into the wind to about 12 feet and although I didn't hole it for eagle, it was a birdie and a change of fortunes in the tournament.’


  • blow a hole in

    • Ruin the effectiveness of.

      ‘the amendment could blow a hole in the legislation’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A report by a top level think-tank blows a hole in Government claims that the gap between rich and poor has narrowed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Former Manchester United star Henning Berg hopes to bid a fond farewell to Old Trafford tomorrow by blowing a hole in his old club's title ambitions.’
      • ‘He said the rate of increase in current spending would have to be cut from 22% to around 10% immediately, or else it would blow a hole in the economy.’
      • ‘This is genuinely good news except for the fact that by then new genomic-based therapies will be available, blowing a hole in the national strategies.’
      • ‘The near - 16% fall in the cost of clothing and footwear over the same period tends to blow a hole in that argument.’
      • ‘He could blow a hole in the very argument the administration was making on why we ought to go to war.’
      • ‘As he tries to explain this theory, Gonzales blows a hole in it himself.’
      • ‘Belle Vue's revamped side are planning to lay down a marker for a new, brighter era by blowing a hole in Oxford's Elite League title bid.’
      wreck, ruin, spoil, disrupt, undo, upset, play havoc with, make a mess of, put an end to, end, bring to an end, put a stop to, terminate, prevent, frustrate, blight, crush, quell, quash, dash, scotch, shatter, vitiate, blast, devastate, demolish, sabotage, torpedo
      View synonyms
  • in the hole

    • informal In debt.

      ‘we're still three thousand dollars in the hole’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The punishing combo of fewer jobs plus fewer hours worked has left family incomes in the hole.’
      • ‘And if things don't all go 100% perfectly, we'll be several billion dollars in the hole.’
  • in holes

    • Worn so much that holes have formed.

      ‘my clothes are in holes’
      • ‘I don't care if my clothes are in holes, or the curtains have shrunk or the rugs are threadbare.’
      shabby, well worn, worn, worn to shreds, threadbare, tattered, in tatters, in ribbons, in rags, in holes, holey, falling to pieces, falling apart at the seams, ragged, frayed, patched, moth-eaten, faded, seedy, shoddy, sorry, scruffy, dilapidated, crumbling, broken-down, run down, tumbledown, decrepit, deteriorated, on its last legs, having seen better days, time-worn
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  • make a hole in

    • Use a large amount of.

      ‘holidays can make a big hole in your savings’
      • ‘Deflation is now making the hole in banks' balance sheets much bigger.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • need something like a hole in the head

    • informal Used to emphasize that someone has absolutely no need or desire for something.

      ‘the government needs another reorganization like a hole in the head’
      • ‘Theoretically, Ireland needs a rate cut like a hole in the head right now.’
      • ‘By last week, the company needed the asbestos issue like a hole in the head.’
      • ‘On the other hand, I need another expense like a hole in the head.’
      • ‘‘Howard needs a misfiring studio like a hole in the head,’ says a top studio executive.’
      • ‘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.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • hole out

    • 1Cricket
      (of a batsman) hit the ball to a fielder and be caught.

      • ‘He finally fell for 34 off 69 balls - holing out to Ricky Ponting, which brought together the partnership that all England fans had been clamouring for.’
      • ‘They looked to have the game won when on 125 in the 40th over Jones holed out for a hard earned 40.’
      • ‘Tim Bresnan was run out for a duck, before Lumb holed out to Bilal Shafayat on the long-on boundary.’
      • ‘He eventually holed out to a diving catch at deep cover by Jamie Glasson and walked off to a standing ovation.’
      • ‘Katich holed out to Jones at third man, leaving McGrath stranded 80 short of his century.’
    • 2Golf
      Send the ball into a hole.

      • ‘He holed out from the 14th fairway on Sunday for an eagle that gave him a share of the lead.’
      • ‘As he waited to hole out on the 72nd green at Oakland Hills in 1937, Guldahl removed a comb from his pocket and coolly groomed his hair.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To me, there is nothing more vital to scoring well than holing out from inside six feet or so.’
      • ‘Tiger Woods holes out for a birdie and is now two clear of the field.’
  • hole up

    • Hide oneself.

      ‘I holed up for two days in a tiny cottage in Snowdonia’
      • ‘Special forces on Saturday besieging a house in the town, where five terror suspects were holed up.’
      • ‘Some 1,200 to 3,000 fighters were believed holed up in the city before the offensive.’
      • ‘Police believe he might be holed up somewhere in southern California where he has a number of relatives.’
      • ‘The local garrison holed up in St Mary's Church and put up some tough opposition before falling to the superior Royalist forces.’
      • ‘But then there was also fear that a sniper had holed up in one of the buildings down there.’
      • ‘Today's elk are under such pressure that once the season opens they tend to hole up in the thickest cover they can find.’
      • ‘Having robbed her boss's safe in order to get married, she holes up overnight at the sinister Bates motel.’
      • ‘I panicked at the thought of driving home and gave one fleeting thought to staying, to holing up in the car for the rest of the storm, like lovers on the run.’
      • ‘I've come to the realization lately that I've been holing up in my apartment way too much for far too long.’
      • ‘A Russion oil tycoon holes up in London after some dodgy dealings in his home country.’
      hide, hide out, hide oneself, conceal oneself, secrete oneself, shelter, take cover, lie low, go to ground, go to earth, go underground
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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.