1. A hollowed place in something solid; a cavity or pit: dug a hole in the ground with a shovel.
a. An opening or perforation: a hole in the clouds; had a hole in the elbow of my sweater.
b. Sports An opening in a defensive formation, such as the area of a baseball infield between two adjacent fielders.
c. A fault or flaw: There are holes in your argument.
3. A deep place in a body of water.
4. An animal's hollowed-out habitation, such as a burrow.
5. An ugly, squalid, or depressing dwelling.
6. A deep or isolated place of confinement; a dungeon.
7. An awkward situation; a predicament.
a. The small pit lined with a cup into which a golf ball must be hit.
b. One of the divisions of a golf course, from tee to cup.
9. Physics A vacant position in an atom left by the absence of a valence electron, especially a position in a semiconductor that acts as a carrier of positive electric charge. Also called electron hole.
v. holed, hol·ing, holes
1. To put a hole in.
2. To put or propel into a hole.
To make a hole in something.
hole out Sports
To hit a golf ball into the hole.
1. To hibernate in or as if in a hole.
2. Informal To take refuge in or as if in a hideout.
in the hole
1. Having a score below zero.
2. In debt.
3. At a disadvantage.
[Middle English, from Old English hol; see kel-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.