adj. hol·low·er, hol·low·est
1. Having a cavity, gap, or space within: a hollow wall.
2. Deeply indented or concave; sunken: "His bearded face already has a set, hollow look" (Conor Cruise O'Brien).
3. Without substance or character: a hollow person. See Synonyms at vain.
4. Devoid of truth or validity; specious: "Theirs is at best a hollow form of flattery" (Annalyn Swan).
5. Having a reverberating, sepulchral sound: hollow footsteps.
1. A cavity, gap, or space: a hollow behind a wall.
2. An indented or concave surface or area.
3. A void; an emptiness: a hollow in one's life.
4. A small valley between hills or mountains.
v. hol·lowed, hol·low·ing, hol·lows
1. To make hollow: hollow out a pumpkin.
2. To scoop or form by making concave: hollow out a nest in the sand.
To become hollow or empty.
[Middle English holwe, holowe, from holgh, hole, burrow (influenced by hole, hollow), from Old English holh; see kel-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.