beat all hollow, to surpass or outdo completely: His performance beat the others all hollow.Also beat hollow.

Origin of hollow

before 900; Middle English holw(e), holow, Old English holh a hollow place; akin to hole
Related formshol·low·ly, adverbhol·low·ness, nounhalf-hol·low, adjectiveun·hol·low, adjectiveun·hol·lowed, adjective

Synonyms for hollow Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hollowing

Contemporary Examples of hollowing

Historical Examples of hollowing

  • He filled his hollowing cheek with finer things than moaning.

    Adventures in the Arts

    Marsden Hartley

  • Suddenly Queequeg started to his feet, hollowing his hand to his ear.

  • They then began to cross the plain with oxen, hollowing "haw."

  • I then thought of felling a tree and hollowing it out by charring the timber.

    The Little Savage

    Captain Frederick Marryat

  • So at length we come to the hollowing out and to the thicknesses of the belly.

    Violin Making

    Walter H. Mayson

British Dictionary definitions for hollowing



having a hole, cavity, or space within; not solid
having a sunken area; concave
recessed or deeply sethollow cheeks
(of sounds) as if resounding in a hollow place
without substance or validity
hungry or empty
insincere; cynical
a hollow leg or hollow legs the capacity to eat or drink a lot without ill effects


beat someone hollow British informal to defeat someone thoroughly and convincingly


a cavity, opening, or space in or within something
a depression or dip in the land

verb (often foll by out, usually when tr)

to make or become hollow
to form (a hole, cavity, etc) or (of a hole, etc) to be formed
Derived Formshollowly, adverbhollowness, noun

Word Origin for hollow

C12: from holu, inflected form of Old English holh cave; related to Old Norse holr, German hohl; see hole
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 hollowing



c.1200, from Old English holh (n.) "hollow place, hole," from Proto-Germanic *hul-, from PIE *kel- "to cover, conceal" (see cell). The figurative sense of "insincere" is attested from 1520s. Related: Hollowly; hollowness. To carry it hollow "take it completely" is first recorded 1660s, of unknown origin or connection.



late 14c., holowen, from hollow (adj.). Related: Hollowed; hollowing.



"lowland, valley, basin," 1550s, probably a modern formation from hollow (adj.). Old English had holh (n.) "cave, den; internal cavity."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hollowing


see beat the pants off (hollow).

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