Definition of vacuous in English:



  • 1Having or showing a lack of thought or intelligence; mindless.

    ‘a vacuous smile’
    ‘vacuous slogans’
    • ‘I have been repelled by attempts to portray him as a vacuous man with an artificial smile and no convictions.’
    • ‘In short, what we have here is a veritable orgy of vacuous generalities and meaningless slogans.’
    • ‘Some might say that it's because the actors are silly, strident, vacuous, and self-important.’
    • ‘For many, the book was a microcosm of the vacuous 1980s, a period in American history when youngsters stood for nothing and believed in nothing.’
    • ‘You'll see their vacuous smiles, but their sad eyes will betray how hollow and unhappy they really are.’
    • ‘We should argue about how things are, not seek to win arguments with vacuous comparisons designed to evoke revulsion without thought.’
    • ‘If the Nationalists had simply parroted their trite, intellectually vacuous opposition, then that would have been no more or less than expected.’
    • ‘If only the museum had been given a fraction of the budget wasted on silly stunts and vacuous indulgences of the Capital of Culture bid, its future would be assured.’
    • ‘So is there any genuinely interesting news in all this vacuous Hollywood house-hunting nonsense?’
    • ‘The story may seem vacuous because of its clear lack of progression, but then, maybe that's the point of it.’
    • ‘He attempts to revisit the concept of intelligence but comes to the vacuous conclusion that it can't be defined.’
    • ‘This piece struck me as one of the most vacuous and shallow pieces of writing I've seen in a very long time.’
    • ‘Ultimately, it's a completely empty, vacuous product, carefully crafted to make lots and lots of money.’
    • ‘She's perfected that smiling art of PR deflection, of projecting a sweetly vacuous wholesomeness.’
    • ‘Choices based on the most minute reasoning but lacking any desire are vacuous.’
    • ‘From his face you can see nothing but a kind of goofy good-nature, and the vacuous, half-baked expression of a child bewildered by all the strange things that are going on all around him.’
    • ‘He's a young, concerned citizen who, like so many of us, is turned off by the negative and vacuous campaigns run by candidates of both major parties.’
    • ‘It transformed his face, giving his normally vacuous gaze a look of both intelligence and awareness.’
    • ‘Belief and unbelief, so important to the intellectual posturing of modern existence, are innocuous, vacuous terms.’
    • ‘Can there be anything more futile than to combine the huge range of music we find under the vapid and vacuous heading Easy Listening?’
    blank, vacant, expressionless, deadpan, inscrutable, inexpressive, poker-faced, emotionless, impassive, absent, absent-minded, uninterested, empty, glassy, stony, wooden, motionless, lifeless, inanimate
    empty-headed, unintelligent, without thought, brainless, dense, dull-witted, thick, vacant, inane, stupid
    View synonyms
  • 2archaic Empty.

    • ‘There was less than a minute of silence, and then two police cruisers tore down the vacuous street with their sirens on and stopped in front of the restaurant.’
    • ‘A vacuous, empty space is present in almost all locations throughout the film and successfully captures the enormous lack of love Barry feels.’
    • ‘On the second floor, I stepped into a vacuous, empty office space.’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘empty of matter’): from Latin vacuus ‘empty’ + -ous.