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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.
8. Sports
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.
Phrasal Verbs:
hole out Sports
To hit a golf ball into the hole.
hole up
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- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


  • caster - A container with holes in the top for sprinkling something like sugar or pepper.
  • chad - A hole poked out of cards or paper.
  • latebricole - Some animals are latebricole, living in holes.
  • canal - The holes in a sponge are called canals.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
He knew that Gossett would win the necessary ten holes off the reel.
As we rode away with the spade, Antonia suggested that we stop at the prairie-dog-town and dig into one of the holes. We could find out whether they ran straight down, or were horizontal, like mole-holes; whether they had underground connections; whether the owls had nests down there, lined with feathers.
On earth I was a manufacturer of Imported Holes for American Swiss Cheese, and I will acknowledge that I supplied a superior article, which was in great demand.
To dig a hole three feet deep in order to get one test-pan was a task of no mean magnitude; while between the man and the apex intervened an untold number of such holes to be.
The bear and the wolf grew uneasy, and turned back and went into their holes. The young willow-wrens, however, continued to cry and scream, and when their parents again brought food they said: 'We will not so much as touch one fly's leg, no, not if we were dying of hunger, until you have settled whether we are respectable children or not; the bear has been here and has insulted us!' Then the old King said: 'Be easy, he shall be punished,' and he at once flew with the Queen to the bear's cave, and called in: 'Old Growler, why have you insulted my children?
They eat up the chicken food, and steal the oats and bran, and make holes in the meal bags.
They now followed Diksey to the farther end of the great cave, beyond the Horner city, where there were several round, dark holes leading into the ground in a slanting direction.
He would perhaps have placed alder branches over the narrow holes in the ice, which were four or five rods apart and an equal distance from the shore, and having fastened the end of the line to a stick to prevent its being pulled through, have passed the slack line over a twig of the alder, a foot or more above the ice, and tied a dry oak leaf to it, which, being pulled down, would show when he had a bite.
He cocked his head to one side, shut one eye and put the other one to the hole, like a possum looking down a jug; then he glanced up with his bright eyes, gave a wink or two with his wings--which signifies gratification, you understand--and says, 'It looks like a hole, it's located like a hole--blamed if I don't believe it IS a hole!'
In the shade sat a little boy dressed in sailor clothes, who was digging a hole in the earth with a bit of wood.
A SNAKE, having made his hole close to the porch of a cottage, inflicted a mortal bite on the Cottager's infant son.
A RAT that was about to emerge from his hole caught a glimpse of a Cat waiting for him, and descending to the colony at the bottom of the hole invited a Friend to join him in a visit to a neighbouring corn-bin.