[ hohl ]
See synonyms for: holeholedholesholing on Thesaurus.com

  1. an opening through something; gap; aperture: a hole in the roof; a hole in my sock.

  2. a hollow place in a solid body or mass; a cavity: a hole in the ground.

  1. the excavated habitation of an animal; burrow.

  2. a small, dingy, or shabby place: I couldn't live in a hole like that.

  3. a place of solitary confinement; dungeon.

  4. an embarrassing position or predicament: to find oneself in a hole.

  5. a cove or small harbor.

  6. a fault or flaw: They found serious holes in his reasoning.

  7. a deep, still place in a stream: a swimming hole.

  8. Sports.

    • a small cavity, into which a marble, ball, or the like is to be played.

    • a score made by so playing.

  9. Golf.

    • the circular opening in a green into which the ball is to be played.

    • a part of a golf course from a tee to the hole corresponding to it, including fairway, rough, and hazards.

    • the number of strokes taken to hit the ball from a tee into the hole corresponding to it.

  10. Informal. opening; slot: The radio program was scheduled for the p.m. hole. We need an experienced person to fill a hole in our accounting department.

  11. Metalworking. (in wire drawing) one reduction of a section.

  12. Electronics. a mobile vacancy in the electronic structure of a semiconductor that acts as a positive charge carrier and has equivalent mass.

  13. Aeronautics. an air pocket that causes a plane or other aircraft to drop suddenly.

verb (used with object),holed, hol·ing.
  1. to make a hole or holes in.

  2. to put or drive into a hole.

  1. Golf. to hit the ball into (a hole).

  2. to bore (a tunnel, passage, etc.).

verb (used without object),holed, hol·ing.
  1. to make a hole or holes.

Verb Phrases
  1. hole out, Golf. to strike the ball into a hole: He holed out in five, one over par.

  2. hole up,

    • to go into a hole; retire for the winter, as a hibernating animal.

    • to hide, as from pursuers, the police, etc.: The police think the bank robbers are holed up in Chicago.

Idioms about hole

  1. burn a hole in one's pocket, to urge one to spend money quickly: His inheritance was burning a hole in his pocket.

  2. hole in the wall, a small or confining place, especially one that is dingy, shabby, or out-of-the-way: Their first shop was a real hole in the wall.

  1. in a / the hole,

    • in debt; in straitened circumstances: After Christmas I am always in the hole for at least a month.

    • Baseball, Softball. pitching or batting with the count of balls or balls and strikes to one's disadvantage, especially batting with a count of two strikes and one ball or none.

    • Stud Poker. being the card or one of the cards dealt face down in the first round: a king in the hole.

  2. make a hole in, to take a large part of: A large bill from the dentist made a hole in her savings.

  3. pick a hole / holes in, to find a fault or flaw in: As soon as I presented my argument, he began to pick holes in it. : Also poke a hole / holes in.

Origin of hole

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English hol “hole, cave,” originally neuter of hol (adjective) hollow; cognate with German hohl “hollow”

synonym study For hole

1, 2. Hole, cavity, excavation refer to a hollow place in anything. Hole is the common word for this idea: a hole in turf. Cavity is a more formal or scientific term for a hollow within the body or in a substance, whether with or without a passage outward: a cavity in a tooth; the cranial cavity. An excavation is an extended hole made by digging out or removing material: an excavation before the construction of a building.

Other words for hole

Other words from hole

  • holeless, adjective
  • holey, adjective

Words that may be confused with hole

Words Nearby hole

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

How to use hole in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hole


/ (həʊl) /

  1. an area hollowed out in a solid

  2. an opening made in or through something

  1. an animal's hiding place or burrow

  2. informal an unattractive place, such as a town or a dwelling

  3. informal a cell or dungeon

  4. US informal a small anchorage

  5. a fault (esp in the phrase pick holes in)

  6. slang a difficult and embarrassing situation

  7. the cavity in various games into which the ball must be thrust

  8. (on a golf course)

    • the cup on each of the greens

    • each of the divisions of a course (usually 18) represented by the distance between the tee and a green

    • the score made in striking the ball from the tee into the hole

  9. physics

    • a vacancy in a nearly full band of quantum states of electrons in a semiconductor or an insulator. Under the action of an electric field holes behave as carriers of positive charge

    • (as modifier): hole current

    • a vacancy in the nearly full continuum of quantum states of negative energy of fermions. A hole appears as the antiparticle of the fermion

  10. in holes so worn as to be full of holes: his socks were in holes

  11. in the hole mainly US

    • in debt

    • (of a card, the hole card, in stud poker) dealt face down in the first round

  12. make a hole in to consume or use a great amount of (food, drink, money, etc): to make a hole in a bottle of brandy

  1. to make a hole or holes in (something)

  2. (when intr, often foll by out) golf to hit (the ball) into the hole

Origin of hole

Old English hol; related to Gothic hulundi, German Höhle, Old Norse hylr pool, Latin caulis hollow stem; see hollow

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

Scientific definitions for hole


[ hōl ]

  1. A gap, usually the valence band of an insulator or semiconductor, that would normally be filled with one electron. If an electron accelerated by a voltage moves into a gap, it leaves a gap behind it, and in this way the hole itself appears to move through the substance. Even though holes are in fact the absence of a negatively charged particle (an electron), they can be treated theoretically as positively charged particles, whose motion gives rise to electric current.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with hole


In addition to the idioms beginning with hole

  • hole in one
  • hole in the wall
  • hole up

also see:

  • ace in the hole
  • black hole
  • in a bind (hole)
  • in the hole
  • money burns a hole in one's pocket
  • need like a hole in the head
  • pick holes in
  • square peg in a round hole

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.