Nearby words

  1. empson, william,
  2. empt,
  3. emptiness,
  4. emption,
  5. emptor,
  6. empty calorie,
  7. empty calories,
  8. empty cow,
  9. empty morph,
  10. empty nest

Origin of empty

before 900; Middle English (with intrusive -p-); Old English ǣmettig vacant (ǣmett(a) leisure (ǣ- a-3 + Germanic *mōtithō accommodation; cf. must1, meet1) + -ig -y1)

1. vacuous. Empty, vacant, blank, void denote absence of content or contents. Empty means without appropriate or accustomed contents: an empty refrigerator. Vacant is usually applied to that which is temporarily unoccupied: a vacant chair; three vacant apartments. Blank applies to surfaces free from any marks or lacking appropriate markings, openings, etc.: blank paper; a blank wall. Void emphasizes completely unfilled space with vague, unspecified, or no boundaries: void and without form. 6. delusive, vain. 12. unload, unburden.

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for empty

British Dictionary definitions for empty


adjective -tier or -tiest

containing nothing
without inhabitants; vacant or unoccupied
carrying no load, passengers, etc
without purpose, substance, or valuean empty life
insincere or trivialempty words
not expressive or vital; vacantshe has an empty look
informal hungry
(postpositive foll by of) devoid; destitutea life empty of happiness
informal drained of energy or emotionafter the violent argument he felt very empty
maths logic (of a set or class) containing no members
philosophy logic (of a name or description) having no reference

verb -ties, -tying or -tied

to make or become empty
(when intr, foll by into) to discharge (contents)
(tr often foll by of) to unburden or rid (oneself)to empty oneself of emotion

noun plural -ties

an empty container, esp a bottle
Derived Formsemptiable, adjectiveemptier, nounemptily, adverbemptiness, noun

Word Origin for empty

Old English ǣmtig, from æmetta free time, from æ- without + -metta, from mōtan to be obliged to; see must 1

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for empty


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with empty


In addition to the idioms beginning with empty

  • empty calories
  • empty nest
  • empty suit

also see:

  • glass is half full (half empty)
  • running on empty
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.