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Idioms for hole

Origin of hole

before 900; Middle English; Old English hol hole, cave, orig. neuter of hol (adj.) hollow; cognate with German hohl hollow


1, 2 pit, hollow, concavity. 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.
3 den, cave; lair, retreat.
4 hovel, shack.


hole·less, adjectivehol·ey, adjective


hole whole (see synonym study at the current entry) (see synonym study at whole)holey holy wholly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for holey

  • When Orlean recently tweeted the question, “Is it ‘holy moly’ or ‘holey moley’ or ‘holy moley’?”

    Timothy Hutton: Literary Sex God|Sean Kennedy|January 19, 2010|DAILY BEAST
  • I hunted out the holey socks and then I turned my attention to the trunk.

    Talbot's Angles|Amy E. Blanchard
  • He had not had a really satisfying meal since leaving Holey Lake.

    South from Hudson Bay|E. C. [Ethel Claire] Brill
  • Don't get thinkin' of somethin' else and come down with one whole and one holey, same as you did last time.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug|Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for holey (1 of 2)

/ (ˈhəʊlɪ) /

adjective holeyer or holeyest

full of holes

British Dictionary definitions for holey (2 of 2)

/ (həʊl) /



to make a hole or holes in (something)
(when intr, often foll by out) golf to hit (the ball) into the hole

Word Origin for 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 holey

[ hōl ]

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.

Idioms and Phrases with holey


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