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 hollowly

Historical Examples of hollowly

  • "It was thus I left my loved ones," the Wanderer said hollowly.

  • The actor laughed like a man of small humor, mellowly, but hollowly.

    The Story of a Play

    W. D. Howells

  • The lady who received us was effusive to Aunt Eliza and hollowly gracious to me.

    Dream Days

    Kenneth Grahame

  • "There's no longer an Antamunda," John Andrusco said hollowly.

  • His voice was low, but it rang as hollowly as though he were from another world.

    Out of the Air

    Inez Haynes Irwin

British Dictionary definitions for hollowly



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 hollowly



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 hollowly


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.