Idioms

Origin of hole

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

SYNONYMS FOR hole

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.

Related forms

hole·less, adjectivehol·ey, adjective

Can be confused

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. 2019

Examples 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)

holey

/ (ˈhəʊlɪ) /

adjective holeyer or holeyest

full of holes

British Dictionary definitions for holey (2 of 2)

hole

/ (həʊl) /

noun


verb

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

Science definitions for holey

hole

[ 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

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.