See more synonyms for empty 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. vacant; unoccupied: an empty house.
  3. without cargo or load: an empty wagon.
  4. destitute of people or human activity: We walked along the empty streets of the city at night.
  5. destitute of some quality or qualities; devoid (usually followed by of): Theirs is a life now empty of happiness.
  6. without force, effect, or significance; hollow; meaningless: empty compliments; empty pleasures.
  7. not employed in useful activity or work; idle: empty summer days.
  8. Mathematics. (of a set) containing no elements; null; void.
  9. hungry: I'm feeling rather empty—let's have lunch.
  10. without knowledge or sense; frivolous; foolish: an empty head.
  11. 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

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)
Related formsemp·ti·a·ble, adjectiveemp·ti·er, nounemp·ti·ly, adverbemp·ti·ness, nouno·ver·emp·ty, adjectivequa·si-emp·ty, adjectiveself-emp·ti·ness, nounself-emp·ty·ing, adjectiveun·emp·tied, adjectiveun·emp·ty, adjective

Synonyms for empty

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
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.

Antonyms for empty

1. full.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for emptying

Contemporary Examples of emptying

Historical Examples of emptying

  • Orderlies were going about, carrying out linens, emptying pans.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Jack Bates looked up from emptying the third spoon of sugar into his coffee.

  • Chip and I don't set up nights emptying our brains out our mouths.

  • She then went away, at her friend's entreaty, after emptying her purse in my nurse's hands.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • One morning Gervaise surprised her emptying a basket of oyster shells there.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for emptying


adjective -tier or -tiest
  1. containing nothing
  2. without inhabitants; vacant or unoccupied
  3. carrying no load, passengers, etc
  4. without purpose, substance, or valuean empty life
  5. insincere or trivialempty words
  6. not expressive or vital; vacantshe has an empty look
  7. informal hungry
  8. (postpositive foll by of) devoid; destitutea life empty of happiness
  9. informal drained of energy or emotionafter the violent argument he felt very empty
  10. maths logic (of a set or class) containing no members
  11. 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)
  3. (tr often foll by of) to unburden or rid (oneself)to empty oneself of emotion
noun plural -ties
  1. 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 emptying



c.1200, from Old English æmettig "at leisure, not occupied, unmarried," from æmetta "leisure," from æ "not" + -metta, from motan "to have" (see might (n.)). The -p- is a euphonic insertion.

Sense evolution from "at leisure" to "empty" is paralleled in several languages, e.g. Modern Greek adeios "empty," originally "freedom from fear," from deios "fear." "The adj. adeios must have been applied first to persons who enjoyed freedom from duties, leisure, and so were unoccupied, whence it was extended to objects that were unoccupied" [Buck].

The adjective also yielded a verb (1520s), replacing Middle English empten, from Old English geæmtigian. Related: Emptied; emptying. Figurative sense of empty-nester first attested 1987. Empty-handed attested from 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with emptying


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.