a. Containing nothing; empty: vacant space.
b. Not occupied or put to use: a vacant row of seats.
c. Without an incumbent or occupant; unfilled: a vacant position.
d. Not filled with any activity: vacant hours. See Synonyms at empty.
2. Law Lacking an identified heir: a vacant estate.
a. Lacking intelligence or knowledge: a vacant mind.
b. Lacking expression; blank: a vacant stare.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin vacāns, vacant-, present participle of vacāre, to be empty; see euə- 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.