a deep hole; pit.
a hole formed in pavement, as by excessive use or by extremes of weather.
a more or less cylindrical hole formed in rock by the grinding action of the detrital material in eddying water.
a cave opening vertically from the ground surface.

Nearby words

  1. pothecary,
  2. potheen,
  3. pother,
  4. potherb,
  5. potholder,
  6. potholer,
  7. potholing,
  8. pothook,
  9. pothos,
  10. pothouse

Origin of pothole

First recorded in 1820–30; pot1 + hole

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pothole

British Dictionary definitions for pothole



  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
a deep hole, esp one produced in a road surface by wear or weathering
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper