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See more synonyms for pothole on Thesaurus.com
  1. a deep hole; pit.
  2. a hole formed in pavement, as by excessive use or by extremes of weather.
  3. a more or less cylindrical hole formed in rock by the grinding action of the detrital material in eddying water.
  4. a cave opening vertically from the ground surface.
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Origin of pothole

First recorded in 1820–30; pot1 + hole
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for pothole

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The carriage slumped into a pothole, and a spring seemed to snap.

    When the Owl Cries

    Paul Bartlett

  • They were moving around the base of a small knoll when Larkwell's foot struck a pothole in the ash and he stumbled.

British Dictionary definitions for pothole


  1. geography
    1. a deep hole in limestone areas resulting from action by running waterSee also sinkhole (def. 1)
    2. a circular hole in the bed of a river produced by abrasion
  2. a deep hole, esp one produced in a road surface by wear or weathering
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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 pothole


also pot-hole, 1826, originally a geological feature in glaciers and gravel beds, from Middle English pot "a deep hole for a mine, or from peat-digging" (late 14c.), now generally obsolete, but preserved in Scotland and northern England dialect; perhaps ultimately related to pot (n.1) on notion of "deep, cylindrical shape." Applied to a hole in a road from 1909.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper