A hole isn't just a hollow space dug out of the ground or punched out of something. When you're talking casually with friends, you can also call a place that's small or dumpy a hole, like a rundown town or a really tiny apartment.

The word hole comes from the Old English hol meaning "cave" which in prehistoric times wasn't just a dark space to hide, it was a home. The word hole is used in many contexts from a rabbit hole where rabbits live to "a hole in one" — the golf term. And, if you're feeling sick or depressed, you can hole up in your room — hiding away from the world, watching TV for hours.

Primary Meanings of hole

an opening into or through something
make holes in
one playing period (from tee to green) on a golf course
hit the ball into the hole
a fault
informal terms for a difficult situation
informal terms for the mouth
Full Definitions of hole

n an opening into or through something

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a natural opening in something
a hole through which an animal may bolt when pursued into its burrow or den
bullet hole
a hole made by a bullet passing through it
a small opening or crevice (especially in a rock face or wall)
an accidental hole that allows something (fluid or light etc.) to enter or escape
ozone hole
an area of the ozone layer (near the poles) that is seasonally depleted of ozone
a hole made in something
a hole (as in the wall of a building) made by rats
a hole in a board where a knot came out
the contractile aperture in the center of the iris of the eye; resembles a large black dot
minute opening in the wall of an ovule through which the pollen tube enters
pore, stoma, stomate
a minute epidermal pore in a leaf or stem through which gases and water vapor can pass
Type of:
gap, opening
an open or empty space in or between things

n an opening deliberately made in or through something

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air hole
a hole that allows the passage of air
a hole through which you put your arm and where a sleeve can be attached
a hole in a barrel or cask; used to fill or empty it
button hole, buttonhole
a hole through which buttons are pushed
a hole (usually in wood) with the top part enlarged so that a screw or bolt will fit into it and lie below the surface
the hole (or metal container in the hole) on a golf green
ear hole
a hole (as in a helmet) for sound to reach the ears
a small hole or loop (as in a needle)
eyehole, eyelet
a small hole (usually round and finished around the edges) in cloth or leather for the passage of a cord or hook or bar
finger hole
a hole for inserting a finger
finger hole
one of a series of holes in a woodwind instrument; pitch changes when a finger covers it
hawse, hawsehole, hawsepipe
the hole that an anchor rope passes through
the hole where a key is inserted
a small hole in a fortified wall; for observation or discharging weapons
lubber's hole
hole in a platform on a mast through which a sailor can climb without going out on the shrouds
a hole (usually with a flush cover) through which a person can gain access to an underground structure
mortice, mortise
a square hole made to receive a tenon and so to form a joint
mouth hole
a hole (as in a ski mask) for the mouth
nail hole
a hole left after a nail is removed
eyehole, peephole, spyhole
a hole (in a door or an oven etc) through which you can peep
a line of small holes for tearing at a particular place
a hole into which a plug fits (especially a hole where water drains away)
post hole, posthole
a hole dug in the ground to hold a fence post
a small hole made by a sharp object
sound hole
a hole in a soundboard (as of a violin) designed to resonate with the tones
the hole in a woodwind that is closed and opened with the thumb
blowhole, vent, vent-hole, venthole
a hole for the escape of gas or air
a one-way peephole in a door
a small puncture that might have been made by a pin
small puncture (as if made by a pin)
smoke hole
a vent (as in a roof) for smoke to escape
a finger hole made to fit the thumb (as in a bowling ball)
Type of:
a vacant or unobstructed space that is man-made

n a depression hollowed out of solid matter

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burrow, tunnel
a hole made by an animal, usually for shelter
gopher hole
a hole in the ground made by gophers
kettle, kettle hole
(geology) a hollow (typically filled by a lake) that results from the melting of a mass of ice trapped in glacial deposits
cavity, pit
a sizeable hole (usually in the ground)
chuckhole, pothole
a pit or hole produced by wear or weathering (especially in a road surface)
rabbit burrow, rabbit hole
a hole in the ground as a nest made by wild rabbits
hole made by a burrowing worm
a sloping pit with a stake in the middle used as an obstacle to the enemy
barbecue pit
a pit where wood or charcoal is burned to make a bed of hot coals suitable for barbecuing meat
borrow pit
a pit created to provide earth that can be used as fill at another site
(golf) the cavity left when a piece of turf is cut from the ground by the club head in making a stroke
fire pit
a pit whose floor is incandescent lava
a pit filled with loose wet sand into which objects are sucked down
a large pit in sandy ground from which sand is dug
a pit over which lumber is positioned to be sawed by two men with a long two-handed saw
tar pit
a natural accumulation of bitumens at the surface of the earth; often acts as a trap for animals whose bones are thus preserved
rabbit warren, warren
a series of connected underground tunnels occupied by rabbits
Type of:
depression, natural depression
a sunken or depressed geological formation

n an unoccupied space

any tiny hole admitting passage of a liquid (fluid or gas)
Type of:
an empty area (usually bounded in some way between things)

v make holes in

Type of:
core out, hollow, hollow out
remove the interior of

n one playing period (from tee to green) on a golf course

“he played 18 holes
golf hole
a golf hole with a sharp angle in the fairway
Type of:
period of play, play, playing period
(in games or plays or other performances) the time during which play proceeds

v hit the ball into the hole

hole out
Type of:
cause to move by striking

n a fault

“he shot holes in my argument”
Type of:
defect, fault, flaw
an imperfection in an object or machine

n informal terms for a difficult situation

fix, jam, kettle of fish, mess, muddle, pickle
dog's breakfast, dog's dinner
a poor job; a mess
Type of:
a condition or state of affairs almost beyond one's ability to deal with and requiring great effort to bear or overcome

n informal terms for the mouth

cakehole, gob, maw, trap, yap
Type of:
mouth, oral cavity, oral fissure, rima oris
the opening through which food is taken in and vocalizations emerge