Reserved for the harmlessly stupid and truly meaningless, vacuous is a smart-sounding way to describe something dumb. Celebrity gossip and reality TV are usually pretty vacuous, even if they're fun.

If someone smiles at you in a way that seems fake or empty, you could describe the smile as vacuous. An example of a vacuous comment would be a politician promising to make things better without explaining how. If something is vacuous, it's like a vacuum — hollow, empty, devoid of substance.

Definitions of vacuous
  1. adjective
    devoid of matter
    “a vacuous space”
    holding or containing nothing
  2. adjective
    void of expression
    synonyms: blank
    incommunicative, uncommunicative
    not inclined to talk or give information or express opinions
  3. adjective
    devoid of significance or point
    vacuous comments”
    synonyms: empty, hollow
    meaningless, nonmeaningful
    having no meaning or direction or purpose
  4. adjective
    devoid of intelligence
    synonyms: asinine, fatuous, inane, mindless
    devoid of good sense or judgment
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