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.

Origin of pothole

First recorded in 1820–30; pot1 + hole
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pothole

crater, rut, cavity, dip, gap, pocket, split, fracture, hole, pit, depression

Examples from the Web for pothole

Contemporary Examples of pothole

Historical Examples of pothole

  • 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. 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