Definition of hollow in English:

hollow

adjective

  • 1Having a hole or empty space inside.

    ‘a hollow metal tube’
    • ‘The inside was black and hollow, making it look like an empty tube.’
    • ‘Only the grimy streets and the hollow shell of his mother's home remain.’
    • ‘Here, the railing separates from the wall creating a hollow space with ample daylight filtering in through a skylight directly above.’
    • ‘Chelsea's stomach felt hollow, as if she hadn't just eaten a half hour ago.’
    • ‘Female Bornean tree hole frogs lay their eggs in the rotting holes of hollow tree stumps so that offspring can grow in a pool of water.’
    • ‘Nick handed both men long rounded metal blades, hollow inside, attached to intricately carved handles.’
    • ‘The cochlea is a coiled, hollow tube inside the inner ear that enables us to hear.’
    • ‘A broken bone with a hollow space inside indicated that the creature was a carnivore, but yielded few other clues.’
    • ‘He could barely see them, as they were tucked away inside of a giant hollow tree.’
    • ‘I hadn't had breakfast, and my stomach felt hollow.’
    • ‘Nests are located inside high, hollow branches, well outside the range of land-bound predators.’
    • ‘The framework is basically a hollow cylinder of collagenous connective tissue, the skin.’
    • ‘Typically the bread puffs up in baking leaving it hollow inside like an empty pocket, making it particularly suitable for stuffing to form a sandwich.’
    • ‘A record £16 million worth of hash was found inside elaborately designed hollow doorframes.’
    • ‘So why was she feeling so hollow inside right now?’
    • ‘Blood vessels are essentially hollow tubes that carry blood to the organs and tissues throughout your body.’
    • ‘Several large edible crabs have burrowed under the mast and others live inside the hollow structure.’
    • ‘The surveys concluded that the tree's trunk was essentially hollow and there were large areas of deadwood within its crown.’
    • ‘Yamasaki used another method, which essentially made the building a hollow steel tube.’
    • ‘Newspapers, overdue bills, grocery lists, and scraps paper filled the hollow space.’
    empty, not solid, void, unfilled, vacant, hollowed out
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    1. 1.1 Having a concave or sunken appearance.
      ‘her cheeks were hollow and she had dark circles under her eyes’
      • ‘He's skinny and angular, with a hollow face, jaundiced skin, sunken black eyes and a flaxen mop.’
      • ‘She was much thinner, her cheeks beginning to look hollow.’
      • ‘She is skeletally thin, with hollow, cadaverous eyes and cheeks.’
      • ‘The driver was 18 to 19 years old, 5ft 6ins tall, hairy with a slim build, dark eyes, a gaunt face and hollow cheeks.’
      • ‘His sunken chest, stooped shoulders, and hollow eyes lend him the appearance of a man twice his age.’
      • ‘My cheeks were hollow, my eyes had sunk into my face and my skin was terrible.’
      • ‘They had hollow eyes and sunken cheeks, and they wailed horribly in the darkness.’
      • ‘He was very handsome, except for the pale skin that was turning brown and the sunken cheeks and other visible hollow or gaunt areas.’
      • ‘Her cheeks were sunken and hollow, her body almost frail-looking, her hair limp and sticking to her face.’
      • ‘Facial wasting, a condition identified by sunken cheeks, hollow eyes and temples is caused by a loss of fat tissue under the skin.’
      • ‘When you're about 60, the penalty for remaining rockstar-thin is a cadaverous face and hollow cheeks.’
      • ‘They are generally in blue, green, white or occasionally amethyst glass, and are often cut with shallow, concave hollow diamonds.’
      • ‘Covered in dirt, blood, scruffy from several days worth of beard, eyes sunken and hollow; he looked like a different man.’
      • ‘She looks as though she neither ate nor slept during the entire shoot, with her dark-circled eyes, gaunt frame, and hollow cheeks.’
      • ‘His face is hollow, his eyes sunken, he can barely lift his head from the bed.’
      • ‘Then images of children with bloated bellies, hollow cheeks, and heavy-lidded eyes will begin to go around the world.’
      • ‘His angular face, with its long, sloping, jaw line, narrow chin and hollow cheeks, suggests the fragility of china.’
      • ‘In a single day his stubbly cheeks had begun to look hollow, and the muscles of his shoulders and legs stood out in dehydrated splendor.’
      • ‘If the cows are under fed or fed an imbalance ration then they will look hollow, with a triangular appearance at this point.’
      • ‘His cheeks were slightly more hollow compared to the last time she had saw him, and his hair was longer.’
      sunken, deep-set, concave, depressed, dented, indented, caved in
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    2. 1.2 (of a sound) echoing, as though made in or on an empty container.
      ‘a hollow groan’
      • ‘The large wooden doors closed behind him automatically with a hollow boom, not unlike the sound of a tomb being shut.’
      • ‘Without warning, a massive, hollow boom resounded from the ridges up near the front lines.’
      • ‘I dropped the pole and it clattered to the pier with a hollow thunk.’
      • ‘A few more hollow noises that sounded like metal on metal made him certain.’
      • ‘The cold, hollow sounds of their steps echoing behind them made the little hairs on the back of his neck rise.’
      • ‘You should hear a hollow sound when the melon is thumped.’
      • ‘It hit a tree with a hollow clunk and bounced back to land at his feet.’
      • ‘A sound that is close to this is the hollow sound of a tuning fork.’
      • ‘But all that came forth was the hollow click of an empty gun.’
      • ‘She turned as she heard hollow footsteps echo through the temple, and saw James approaching her door.’
      • ‘Bake until biscuits are golden on top and bottom and sound hollow when tapped, about 10 minutes.’
      • ‘Far above us, the grey clouds got sick of threatening and decided to act, and a hollow boom of thunder sounded.’
      • ‘It makes a dry rustling sound, and a hollow echo as the cans and harder litter roll away across the dirty tiles.’
      • ‘The sound is hollow and muffled throughout the film, and the bass has been cranked up to make up for the overall lack of punch.’
      • ‘I heard a small hollow thud from behind me and a little laugh.’
      • ‘Apparently, there was a struggle going on; some muffled yelps were heard, and a few hollow thuds resounded in the now ominous silence.’
      • ‘Hand claps, body slaps, foot stomps, and the hollow sounds of the boxes being hit built into complex and satisfying rhythmic structures.’
      • ‘The terrible music alternates between sounding hollow, tinny, and shrill.’
      • ‘She remembered the dark, cold cavern and the hollow echoes of her footsteps as she walked into its darkness.’
      • ‘The final curtain closed on the valedictory sound effect off-stage - the hollow thud of an axe chopping down the cherry trees in the lost orchard.’
      • ‘The sound is hollow and tinny, and the dialogue is often quite difficult to understand.’
      dull, low, flat, toneless, expressionless
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  • 2Without real significance or value.

    ‘the result was a hollow victory’
    • ‘Everything becomes absurd and dull at the same time, and the film appears both amusing and hollow.’
    • ‘The game had to be played to prevent further riots, but the Juventus victory was hollow.’
    • ‘Albion scored a second to virtual silence, for it seemed a hollow victory.’
    • ‘She got a standing ovation at the end, but it all must have felt pretty hollow.’
    • ‘Were we to have lost, we would have to start out again next January and what I would have to say to the lads would be a bit hollow - given that I am saying it for the last three years in a row.’
    • ‘The victory in certain lights does seem indeed to be a hollow miracle.’
    • ‘A deeper read, however, suggests something more complicated, a pattern of embarrassing defeats and hollow victories.’
    • ‘At these, it is remarkably effective, but the whole business feels rather hollow.’
    • ‘But even if you happen to be the big winner, your victory may prove hollow.’
    • ‘Does not the claim of the government which claims to promote travel and tourism appear hollow to you?’
    • ‘No wonder efforts during the past two years to change how public companies operate seem so hollow.’
    • ‘Even when I don't think about it, I feel so hollow and worthless.’
    • ‘Fielding women candidates can be a hollow victory if they are not resourced to campaign effectively and confidently.’
    • ‘Hey, a hollow victory is better than no victory at all, right?’
    • ‘For me it's just a hollow form of words, with no real content, much like ‘Have a nice day’.’
    • ‘Parents fighting the closure of their children's junior school won a hollow victory at London's Appeal Court last night.’
    • ‘She went to far and my threat to kill her wasn't hollow, I just needed a way and Erik was the solution to this problem.’
    • ‘Such excuses sound pretty hollow right now, even to me.’
    • ‘Geoffrey, bless his heart, is over the top as Harry; his part in the film is unclear and a little hollow.’
    • ‘If Colin wins his case, I feel it will be a hollow victory for him, whether or not he realizes this now.’
    • ‘There is a call for peaceful direct action that could leave the hardliners with a certain but hollow victory when the election results come in.’
    meaningless, empty, valueless, worthless, useless, pyrrhic, futile, of no use, of no value, of no avail, fruitless, profitless, pointless, unavailing
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    1. 2.1 Insincere.
      ‘a hollow promise’
      • ‘Looking towards next season all the claims that the new stadium is not affecting cash flow seem very hollow.’
      • ‘Those of us with our eye on the ball know that the promise of a technology-supported, Utopian future is a hollow one.’
      • ‘The England captain did his best to look on the bright side, which was understandable but felt rather hollow.’
      • ‘We cement our relationships with our barren love and hollow dialogues.’
      • ‘There are some interesting figures quoted in the article - figures that don't shock or surprise me anymore, but just provoke hollow laughter and indignation.’
      • ‘The Forest Service's argument, however, sounded hollow to many wilderness advocates.’
      • ‘A fervent protester since her early college days, this is a woman who believes in action and follow-through rather than hollow promises made on election campaigns.’
      • ‘A click sounded, and a hollow laughter echoed through the room she was in.’
      • ‘Are those words ringing a little hollow for you?’
      • ‘There has never been a time when the cry for unlimited congressional power has rung so hollow.’
      • ‘The promise of new jobs rings somewhat hollow to a community with an unemployment rate well below the national average.’
      • ‘He is from all appearances, an utterly hollow man whose every action belies the religion he wears on his sleeve.’
      • ‘Alex couldn't stop the hollow laugh that forced its way out of her.’
      • ‘We will not hand over our consciences in return for a hollow promise of safety…’
      • ‘The first item on that shopping list will trigger hollow laughter among the rest of the world's steel makers.’
      • ‘Is Williams's redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?’
      • ‘In the face of his failure to do anything about the carnage of past months, his promise to preserve national unity has a somewhat hollow sound.’
      • ‘So any promises of anonymity ring a little bit hollow to me.’
      • ‘It was a very hollow gesture.’
      • ‘"You're lying, " she replies, breaking into a hollow laugh.’
      • ‘And we should try to ignore the hollow laughter at that description from those who use it every day.’
      insincere, hypocritical, feigned, pretended, artificial, false, dissembling, dissimulating, deceitful, sham, cynical, counterfeit, spurious, untrue, unsound, flimsy, two-faced, double-dealing
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noun

  • 1A hole or depression in something.

    ‘a hollow at the base of a large tree’
    • ‘Fillers add volume under the surface of the skin to plump up creases, divots and hollows from the inside out.’
    • ‘They are cavity-nesters, finding a natural hollow in a tree, an old woodpecker hole, a hole in a building, or a man-made nest box.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Gideon could see the blue hollows under her eyes and thin creases of worry around the red bow of her mouth.’
    • ‘The hollow in the stone was about 20 centimetres in diameter and about 30 centimetres deep.’
    • ‘And once there, I leaned my back against a hollow in a boulder, not the smooth planks of a bench thoughtfully placed in the shade of twin live oaks.’
    • ‘I have walked the beach with the dogs when the wind howled across the sand, obliterating our footprints and forming ribs and patterns in the hollows and over the dunes.’
    • ‘They would carry a block of ochre to the nearest waterhole or spring, mix ochre and water into a paste and shape it again into a block, with a slight hollow at the bottom.’
    • ‘I half - lifted, half-dragged it to the side of the road, to a grassy hollow at the base of a huge live oak.’
    • ‘I pulled the last button through what I hoped was its corresponding hole just below the hollow of my neck, and for the first time looked down at my breakfast.’
    • ‘They dug hollows in the ground, covered them over just as wrens do and lived in that hollow.’
    • ‘European Starlings are cavity nesters, and nests are generally located in natural hollows, old woodpecker holes, birdhouses, or building eaves and crevices.’
    • ‘She fingered the single pearl that nestle in the hollow of her throat.’
    • ‘They also will use an old woodpecker or other hole or even hollows in the earth beneath exposed tree roots.’
    • ‘From his groin to his knees, his skin was indented with hollows like large smallpox scars.’
    • ‘How convenient it was that all the prey species were excavating holes and hollows and leafy chambers, and stuffing them with helpless nestlings just when he needed them.’
    • ‘Her cheekbones protrude from the top of her face, the hollows below seem to sink all the way to her teeth before climbing the gully of her jawbones.’
    • ‘He pressed a warm kiss into the hollow at the base of her throat.’
    • ‘One hand rests against the hollow at the base of his throat - is this an invitation to trust him?’
    • ‘When the tide is out at Strandhill one can see clearly the indents and hollows in the sand, reminding us that extreme care needs to be taken when swimming there.’
    hole, pit, cavity, crater, trough, cave, cavern
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    1. 1.1 An enclosed space within something.
      ‘he held them in the hollow of his hand’
      • ‘At times, the puppies hide in the hollow of a tree, under which they have created a burrow, he adds, explaining some aspects of their behaviour.’
      • ‘On special occasions, these bricks could be positioned in specially created hollows in the walls for creating an extremely aesthetic effect.’
      • ‘I run a few drops into the hollow of my palm and wipe my face.’
      • ‘Peering into the hollows of trees, you may come face to face with this wraithlike creature.’
      • ‘Pick it up and you discover underneath, nestled in a cutout hollow of thick cardboard, a smaller book!’
      • ‘In this way the stone becomes honeycombed and eventually larger, cavernous hollows can form.’
      • ‘She finally spotted among the huge trees a gigantic oak with a large hollow at the base of its trunk that was just large enough for a little girl to go hide in and sleep.’
      • ‘The actuator body pivots about a pivot axis and is attached to the cartridge bearing assembly disposed within an inner hollow of the actuator body.’
      • ‘The venerable ascetic Mahavira for a year and a month wore clothes; after that time he walked about naked, and accepted alms in the hollow of his hand.’
      • ‘She had hid for a time within the hollow of the oak tree as pursuers raced through the forest looking for her.’
      • ‘The dock drops sheer to the sandy bottom at 21m; some sections are undercut, forming deep hollows sheltering sweetlips and other fish.’
      • ‘There are cave-like hollows in the walls, deep fissures, and piles of sharply splintered rock strewn about as if blasting has just taken place.’
      • ‘The boy stood like a statue, looking at the ink in the hollow of his hand.’
      • ‘Many swifts nest in caves, on cliffs or in hollows of dead trees.’
      • ‘I pulled the small piece of parchment from within the hollow of the band and handed it to Janet for her to read out loud.’
      • ‘Electrical and communication components can be encased in nonconductive materials and fitted together within concrete hollows behind prescribed openings in the walls for outlets.’
      • ‘Put a spoonful in the hollow of each potato boat.’
      • ‘He dug snow away from its end, and from within a hollow in the log retrieved two wooden barbed spears.’
      • ‘Apparently most of the parrots here are happy couples and have set up homes in the hollows of the dead trees in their enclosure.’
      • ‘We are guided on this dive by Morne, a veteran of the lake who seems to have an uncanny knowledge of where all the best caverns and hollows are located.’
      recess, corner, alcove, cranny, crevice, niche, bay, inglenook, cavity, cubbyhole, pigeonhole, opening, gap, aperture
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    2. 1.2 A small valley.
      ‘the village nestles in a hollow on the edge of the New Forest’
      • ‘Cool, humid air after the warmth of the city, and patches of fog in the hollows; smells of car exhaust on the way out, and fishy smells once we got there.’
      • ‘She watched this from her third-story bedroom in the Darville estate, and her gaze wandered over to the farm that nestled into the hollow.’
      • ‘And then there were those Yorkshire folk legends, lurking beneath a thin veneer of Christianity in the hollows and hills of Yorkshire and Scotland.’
      • ‘The granite peaks and sylvan hollows in the Blue Ridge Mountains are the results of geological changes and metamorphosis over perhaps a billion year period of time.’
      • ‘This park, tucked away in the hills and hollows of central Kentucky, protects the longest cave system in the world, a five-level labyrinth with more than 365 miles of tunnels.’
      • ‘To the north, the mountains wind and smoothly melt into the Pre-Balkan region and the Danube plain; while to the south steep mountain slopes tower above a series of hollows and fields.’
      • ‘Often swathed in cloud, otherwise fading into a purple haze flecked with white where winter snows remain in gullies and hollows, the highest point is Pic d' Anie.’
      • ‘Nestled in a hollow at Hunters Point, right up against the bay, we found our goal.’
      • ‘An award-winning cabin in Monteagle is nestled in a Tennessee mountain hollow and projects from the hillside to overlook a mountain stream.’
      • ‘It was a quaint little place, nestled in a hollow in the hills, and smoke rose cozily out of the chimneys of the houses.’
      • ‘Set in three-quarters of an acre, derelict Lambs Barton Stables nestle amid landscaped gardens in a hollow of land with sea views.’
      • ‘Once a bustling coastal township it is now a sleepy hollow with a beautiful beach, a school, and a church.’
      • ‘In my home state, librarians used to ride horses into the remote hollows and valleys in the rural parts of pre-war Kentucky.’
      • ‘Directly to my left, a rectangular plantation almost ready for harvest stretches to the next hollow like a roll of teased Astroturf.’
      • ‘A thaw finally set in but the snow remained in many hollows and mountainous areas right into the summer of that year.’
      • ‘Modest-looking little plants that nestle in the moist soils of swamps or mountain hollows, mosses fascinate biologists.’
      • ‘In the hollow of this tiny valley, lay a white public house.’
      • ‘Nestling in a wooded hollow at the edge of the Queen's Balmoral estate on Scotland's Royal Deeside, the whitewashed mansion was bequeathed to Charles by the Queen Mother.’
      • ‘The famous Surprise View is a great hollow with valleys leading north and south and moorland roads climbing out.’
      • ‘Ahead were more hills, more little valleys, more slopes and hollows and knolls.’
      valley, vale, dale
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verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Form by making a hole.

    ‘a tunnel was hollowed out in a mountain range’
    • ‘Each circular city had been hollowed out from the ground, and covered by a great, pink-tinted dome.’
    • ‘Bells can be hollowed from wood or made from glass or ceramics, but most are cast or forged from metal.’
    • ‘Gazing in the direction of his arm, he saw a small cave, hollowed into the mountain.’
    • ‘The teponaxtli was a long horizontal drum hollowed from a log and beautifully carved.’
    • ‘In the Middle Ages vineyards flourished on this bleak Castilian plateau and cellars were hollowed out of the limestone under the town.’
    • ‘It's about three feet long and was hollowed out naturally by termites, which is the way they are made.’
    • ‘Until the early years of this century the traditional Russian coffin was hollowed from a single piece of wood.’
    • ‘He was being held in some sort of dungeon, which had been hollowed out of the ground.’
    • ‘The room was circular and looked like it had been hollowed out from some giant tree.’
    • ‘Two floors were hollowed out of the hillside beneath the Research Station, so that the facility could withstand a direct hit from a German bomb.’
    • ‘The eye, as it drifts across the cliff, is arrested by a frontage of columns, which invites us into a sanctuary hollowed from the stone.’
    • ‘Unlike modern harps, the soundbox would have be hollowed out from a single piece of wood and finished with a thin panel to ‘seal’ the sound box.’
    • ‘Slowly, gradually, a tunnel, large enough for people to walk through, was hollowed out of the gigantic mound of earth.’
    • ‘The earliest hives were hollowed out of tree trunks, and this practice still survives in some societies.’
    • ‘They were led into a large cave chamber that had been partially hollowed out and worked smooth.’
    gouge out, scoop out, dig out, cut out, excavate, channel
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    1. 1.1 Make a hollow in.
      ‘Flora's laugh hollowed her cheeks’
      • ‘The first canoes are thought to have been used by Carib Indians and native North Americans and were made by hollowing out large logs.’
      • ‘Thomas said the tree had a split trunk, part of which had been damaged in the first storm, and the second half hollowed by the second lightning strike.’
      • ‘Once under the wilderness area, Revett aims to spend 30 years hollowing out an untouched patch of mountain, and extracting its riches.’
      • ‘At first he thought the task impossible, but then he saw a stone that had been hollowed out by dripping water.’
      • ‘We made the centrepiece by hollowing out a large pumpkin and stuffing it with dried leaves, twigs and branches.’
      • ‘Jiman, meanwhile, was hollowing out a log for a new drum commissioned from Joshua.’
      • ‘The rock is soft enough to be hollowed out, but it remains solid and waterproof.’
      • ‘For instance, termites had begun hollowing out live trees instead of just dead ones.’
      • ‘Above the waterfall, the snow - although solid and deep - had been hollowed out by running meltwater.’
      • ‘Pour in remainder of cake batter and smooth the top, hollowing it slightly.’
      • ‘Because the barrel's end is hollowed out, saving weight, the end is blunt rather than rounded.’
      • ‘They hollow out the side of a tree and dig down to form a nest.’
      • ‘Its oversized cap can be sliced off, hollowed, and used for serving soup.’
      • ‘The company also is working on a tool that's driven by a servo motor that will allow the tips to be hollowed out so coolant can flow right to the tip.’
      • ‘People make pottery without a wheel by hollowing out a ball of clay and molding it into the desired shape.’
      • ‘However, to hollow out the glacial boulders, made of Vermont granite, he used a high-intensity blowtorch.’
      • ‘Today in the UK, demand grows each year as more and more people realise that pumpkins aren't simply for hollowing out to make Hallowe'en decorations.’
      • ‘Some of the trees were completely destroyed while others were hollowed out.’
      • ‘I opened the books up and found that they had both been hollowed out.’
      • ‘The concrete block has been hollowed out and is packed with enough plastic explosives to kill us’
      • ‘Yellow and green squash, called koosa, are hollowed out, stuffed with rice and ground lamb meat, and cooked in a tomato sauce.’
      • ‘The king of the bruschetta category was a little square of toast hollowed in the middle like a toad-in-the-hole and filled with egg, bits of truffle, and more melted Fontina cheese.’

Phrases

  • beat someone hollow

    • Defeat someone thoroughly.

      • ‘I had the pleasure of beating him hollow at Pro Evolution Soccer 4.’
      • ‘Team-Pakistan beat India hollow at the Kotla grounds.’
      • ‘Irish landlords were bad enough in the past, but this new importation from England beats them hollow.’
      • ‘Kerala's Shiva Priya's dream run came to an end in the 63 kg division where Asian champion Aruna Mishra beat her hollow in the first round.’
      • ‘Given the standards of Indian movies, the splendid three-hour session will ensure that you beat the romance on the screen hollow!’
      trounce, defeat utterly, beat, annihilate, drub, give a drubbing to, crush, rout, worst, overwhelm, outclass
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Origin

Old English holh ‘cave’; obscurely related to hole.

Pronunciation

hollow

/ˈhɒləʊ/