Definition of vacant in US English:



  • 1(of premises) having no fixtures, furniture, or inhabitants; empty.

    Compare with unoccupied (sense 1 of the adjective)
    • ‘While we were in Sao Paulo, 5,000 homeless people led by the Union of Housing Movements occupied six vacant buildings in the city.’
    • ‘Up to £2,000 is available for new businesses occupying vacant premises and employing at least one member of staff.’
    • ‘They moved there four years ago when the old village bakery became vacant.’
    • ‘Leaving it vacant would result in it almost certainly being vandalised.’
    • ‘The company closed its doors last summer and its premises have been vacant for nine months.’
    • ‘Slowly it opened revealing an empty vacant room and a floor stripped of the carpet.’
    • ‘The door led into an empty shop, vacant for the past two months since the little card shop moved downtown.’
    • ‘Today over 500 buildings, 2,500 residential units and 250 storefronts stand vacant.’
    • ‘The room in front of her lies vacant, lifeless but grandly lighted.’
    • ‘The demolition of the vacant shop premises in the estate was a major achievement for the Development Committee.’
    • ‘The family escaped to a nearby vacant house but the fires continued.’
    • ‘He does have a point about the house being left vacant for months.’
    • ‘This assumes the premises were left vacant in the condition required by the lease.’
    • ‘The house was listed for sale and was left vacant for approximately ten months before the plaintiff offered to purchase the house in April of 1991.’
    • ‘All vacant premises between The Medical Hall on Greencastle Street and McAnulty's Bar on Newry Street will be flattened.’
    • ‘We do not need another retail complex, just look at the number of vacant premises around the centre.’
    • ‘Police say one other burned building was vacant and three were occupied.’
    • ‘In the middle is a small boarded-up chapel that has been vacant for years.’
    • ‘Until last winter, the brown structure was a vacant building.’
    • ‘Staff and pupils at the school are to move to the new £15m Endeavour High School for the autumn term, leaving the premises vacant.’
    empty, unoccupied, unfilled, free, available, not in use, unused, unengaged, uninhabited, untenanted, tenantless, to let, for sale, on the market, abandoned, deserted
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a position or office) not filled.
      ‘the president resigned and the post was left vacant’
      • ‘The post fell vacant following Stuart Gulliver's decision to take up a new academic position.’
      • ‘In addition to lay-offs, another 150 vacant positions will not be filled.’
      • ‘The council adopted a policy of merging schools where the position of headteacher at one falls vacant.’
      • ‘Already-strapped budgets were being cut further and all vacant positions were frozen, leaving a staffing shortage throughout campus.’
      • ‘For a fraction of the cost of newspaper ads, companies can fill their vacant positions within days.’
      • ‘Bradford on Avon police has one special constable, a voluntary, part time position, but is planning to advertise for more people to fill vacant positions.’
      • ‘Church members are more aware of volunteer opportunities, and vacant positions are being filled.’
      • ‘Most hospitals are scrambling like crazy to try to fill vacant positions.’
      • ‘Despite the economic slowdown, there is still a need for overseas workers to fill positions that remain vacant in many industries.’
      • ‘It decided against filling the vacant post and the position won't be reviewed until later in the year.’
      • ‘We anticipate a severe nursing shortage in the next few years and presently do not have enough lab or x-ray techs to fill vacant positions.’
      • ‘More than one in 12 social worker posts are currently vacant.’
      • ‘Robinson encourages him to apply for the deputy news editor position currently vacant at the paper.’
      • ‘It will be responsible for people's postings, promotions and assisting in filling vacant positions.’
      • ‘There were nine candidates for the vacant position.’
      • ‘They also demanded that the government fill all vacant positions and issue employees with at least four sets of uniforms.’
      • ‘Three months later the vacant position at the school has still not been filled and it seems there is no sign of the position being filled in the immediate future.’
      • ‘A $15 million deficit this year resulted in a freeze on filling vacant positions and buying office and classroom supplies.’
      • ‘The result has been posts being left vacant for months as the University finds it hard to fill them.’
      • ‘One major concern for the depots was the amount of time required to fill vacant positions.’
    2. 1.2 (of a person or their expression) having or showing no intelligence or interest.
      ‘a vacant stare’
      • ‘Twenty-four pairs of glossy, vacant eyes stared back up at me and I felt my self-confidence begin to falter.’
      • ‘His eyes, vacant and glassy, stared silently at the sky.’
      • ‘Her vacant, doe-eyed stare into the camera shows little of the star quality that would make her a Hollywood legend.’
      • ‘A couple seconds passed, and then his confused face turned vacant, empty.’
      • ‘He sits in an old rocking chair on a porch, a guitar on his knee and a vacant stare on his face.’
      • ‘An endless parade of hungry children with vacant expressions overwhelmed them.’
      • ‘She just looked vacant, lost and empty; it was awful.’
      • ‘He was strangely giggling but his eyes remained vacant.’
      • ‘His eyes were open but vacant, staring at something that wasn't even there.’
      • ‘His vacant eyes lifted to stare out into the distance.’
      • ‘As our flashlights shone across his face, he looked up with a lifeless, vacant expression.’
      • ‘As he left, he cast one last, longing glance in her direction, receiving nothing in exchange but the same cold, vacant stare from her.’
      • ‘He was carrying a plastic shopping bag and had a fairly benign, but vacant, expression on his face.’
      • ‘He can't see my face, hasn't noticed my largely vacant expression.’
      • ‘He stared back with a vacant expression and his mouth slightly ajar.’
      • ‘In a doorway, three young boys stare out with vacant eyes, inhaling deeply from glass jars filled with glue or gasoline.’
      • ‘She fixes those beady eyes on me, and I give her my best vacant stare back.’
      • ‘He brushed a hand through his hair, his vacant blue eyes staring off to the side.’
      • ‘She noticed Vincent's vacant look as he stared down at the river.’
      • ‘Blake gazed at the both of them then, his face becoming more vacant.’
      blank, expressionless, deadpan, inscrutable, inexpressive, poker-faced, emotionless, impassive, absent, absent-minded, uninterested, vacuous, empty, glassy, stony, wooden, motionless, lifeless, inanimate
      empty-headed, unintelligent, without thought, brainless, dense, dull-witted, thick, vacuous, inane, stupid
      View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin vacant- ‘remaining empty’, from the verb vacare.