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an opening through something; gap; aperture:
a hole in the roof; a hole in my sock.
a hollow place in a solid body or mass; a cavity:
a hole in the ground.
the excavated habitation of an animal; burrow.
a small, dingy, or shabby place:
I couldn’t live in a hole like that.
a place of solitary confinement; dungeon.
an embarrassing position or predicament:
to find oneself in a hole.
a cove or small harbor.
a fault or flaw:
They found serious holes in his reasoning.
a deep, still place in a stream:
a swimming hole.

a small cavity, into which a marble, ball, or the like is to be played.
a score made by so playing.


the circular opening in a green into which the ball is to be played.
a part of a golf course from a tee to the hole corresponding to it, including fairway, rough, and hazards.
the number of strokes taken to hit the ball from a tee into the hole corresponding to it.

Informal. opening; slot:
The radio program was scheduled for the p.m. hole. We need an experienced person to fill a hole in our accounting department.
Metalworking. (in wire drawing) one reduction of a section.
Electronics. a mobile vacancy in the electronic structure of a semiconductor that acts as a positive charge carrier and has equivalent mass.
Aeronautics. an air pocket that causes a plane or other aircraft to drop suddenly.
to make a hole or holes in.
to put or drive into a hole.
Golf. to hit the ball into (a hole).
to bore (a tunnel, passage, etc.).
to make a hole or holes.
hole out, Golf. to strike the ball into a hole:
He holed out in five, one over par.
hole up,

to go into a hole; retire for the winter, as a hibernating animal.
to hide, as from pursuers, the police, etc.:
The police think the bank robbers are holed up in Chicago.

burn a hole in one’s pocket, to urge one to spend money quickly:
His inheritance was burning a hole in his pocket.
hole in the wall, a small or confining place, especially one that is dingy, shabby, or out-of-the-way:
Their first shop was a real hole in the wall.
in a / the hole,

in debt; in straitened circumstances:
After Christmas I am always in the hole for at least a month.
Baseball, Softball. pitching or batting with the count of balls or balls and strikes to one’s disadvantage, especially batting with a count of two strikes and one ball or none.
Stud Poker. being the card or one of the cards dealt face down in the first round:
a king in the hole.

make a hole in, to take a large part of:
A large bill from the dentist made a hole in her savings.
pick a hole / holes in, to find a fault or flaw in:
As soon as I presented my argument, he began to pick holes in it.
Also, poke a hole/holesin.
Contemporary Examples

We Survived the Triumph: Passengers Describe Their Doomed Carnival Cruise Winston Ross, Eliza Shapiro, Sam Register February 15, 2013
Smoked Fish Surrealism: Ben Katchor’s Comics of NYC Neurotics Jacob Siegel March 15, 2013
Can Libraries Survive in an Era of Budget Cutbacks? Miranda Green February 15, 2013
The Best of Brit Lit Peter Stothard April 29, 2009
Gingrich Draws Crowds, Huntsman Doesn’t Howard Kurtz May 19, 2011

Historical Examples

The Corner House Girls at School Grace Brooks Hill
Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
Dick o’ the Fens George Manville Fenn
Up the River Oliver Optic
How Two Boys Made Their Own Electrical Apparatus Thomas M. (Thomas Matthew) St. John

an area hollowed out in a solid
an opening made in or through something
an animal’s hiding place or burrow
(informal) an unattractive place, such as a town or a dwelling
(informal) a cell or dungeon
(US, informal) a small anchorage
a fault (esp in the phrase pick holes in)
(slang) a difficult and embarrassing situation
the cavity in various games into which the ball must be thrust
(on a golf course)

the cup on each of the greens
each of the divisions of a course (usually 18) represented by the distance between the tee and a green
the score made in striking the ball from the tee into the hole


a vacancy in a nearly full band of quantum states of electrons in a semiconductor or an insulator. Under the action of an electric field holes behave as carriers of positive charge
(as modifier): hole current
a vacancy in the nearly full continuum of quantum states of negative energy of fermions. A hole appears as the antiparticle of the fermion

in holes, so worn as to be full of holes: his socks were in holes
(mainly US) in the hole

in debt
(of a card, the hole card, in stud poker) dealt face down in the first round

make a hole in, to consume or use a great amount of (food, drink, money, etc): to make a hole in a bottle of brandy
to make a hole or holes in (something)
(golf) when intr, often foll by out. to hit (the ball) into the hole
A gap, usually the valence band of an insulator or semiconductor, that would normally be filled with one electron. If an electron accelerated by a voltage moves into a gap, it leaves a gap behind it, and in this way the hole itself appears to move through the substance. Even though holes are in fact the absence of a negatively charged particle (an electron), they can be treated theoretically as positively charged particles, whose motion gives rise to electric current.

Any nasty or unpleasant place; dump, joint: The restaurant turned out to be a loathsome little hole (1616+)
The vulva or anus (1340+)

hole in one
hole in the wall
hole up


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Disclaimer: Hole definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.