[ emp-tee ]
See synonyms for: emptyemptiedemptyingemptily on Thesaurus.com

adjective,emp·ti·er, emp·ti·est.
  1. containing nothing; having none of the usual or appropriate contents: an empty bottle.

  2. having no occupant or occupants; vacant; unoccupied: an empty house.

  1. without cargo or load: an empty wagon.

  2. destitute of people or human activity: We walked along the empty streets of the city at night.

  3. destitute of some quality or qualities; devoid (usually followed by of): Theirs is a life now empty of happiness.

  4. without force, effect, or significance; hollow; meaningless: empty compliments; empty pleasures.

  5. not employed in useful activity or work; idle: empty summer days.

  6. Mathematics. (of a set) containing no elements; null; void.

  7. hungry: I'm feeling rather empty—let's have lunch.

  8. without knowledge or sense; frivolous; senseless: an empty head.

  9. completely spent of emotion: The experience had left him with an empty heart.

verb (used with object),emp·tied, emp·ty·ing.
  1. to make empty; deprive of contents; discharge the contents of: to empty a bucket.

  2. to discharge (contents): to empty the water out of a bucket.

verb (used without object),emp·tied, emp·ty·ing.
  1. to become empty: The room emptied rapidly after the lecture.

  2. to discharge contents, as a river: The river empties into the sea.

noun,plural emp·ties.
  1. Informal. something that is empty, as a box, bottle, or can: Throw the empties into the waste bin.

Origin of empty

First recorded before 900; Middle English (with intrusive -p- ); Old English ǣm(et)tig “vacant,” from ǣm(et)ta “rest, leisure” (ǣ- a-3 + unattested Germanic mōtithō “accommodation”; cf. must1, meet1) + -ig -y1)

synonym study For empty

1. 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.

Other words for empty

Opposites for empty

Other words from empty

  • emp·ti·a·ble, adjective
  • emp·ti·er, noun
  • emp·ti·ly, adverb
  • emp·ti·ness, noun
  • o·ver·emp·ty, adjective
  • qua·si-emp·ty, adjective
  • self-emp·ty·ing, adjective
  • un·emp·tied, adjective
  • un·emp·ty, adjective

Words Nearby empty

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use empty in a sentence

  • Herein he found an empty stall that was dark enough not to be seen, and still afforded sufficient light to read in.

    The Homesteader | Oscar Micheaux
  • When the funeral was over, and they returned to their desolate home, at the sight of the empty cradle Ramona broke down.

    Ramona | Helen Hunt Jackson
  • A quite young child will, for example, pretend to do something, as to take an empty cup and carry out the semblance of drinking.

    Children's Ways | James Sully
  • For his heart seemed alternately full and empty; all the life he had was centred there.

    The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
  • In Flanders, he says, they would never attack with empty limbers behind them; they would wait till they were full up.

British Dictionary definitions for empty


/ (ˈɛmptɪ) /

adjective-tier or -tiest
  1. containing nothing

  2. without inhabitants; vacant or unoccupied

  1. carrying no load, passengers, etc

  2. without purpose, substance, or value: an empty life

  3. insincere or trivial: empty words

  4. not expressive or vital; vacant: she has an empty look

  5. informal hungry

  6. (postpositive foll by of) devoid; destitute: a life empty of happiness

  7. informal drained of energy or emotion: after the violent argument he felt very empty

  8. maths logic (of a set or class) containing no members

  9. philosophy logic (of a name or description) having no reference

verb-ties, -tying or -tied
  1. to make or become empty

  2. (when intr, foll by into) to discharge (contents)

  1. (tr often foll by of) to unburden or rid (oneself): to empty oneself of emotion

nounplural -ties
  1. an empty container, esp a bottle

Origin of empty

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

Derived forms of empty

  • emptiable, adjective
  • emptier, noun
  • emptily, adverb
  • emptiness, noun

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

Other 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.