Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to hollow: Hollow Earth
obsolete A premeditated or foregone result or circumstance. Many considered his defeat to be all hollow, as he never had a real chance from the outset.
beat (someone or something) all hollow
To totally outdo or defeat (someone or something). Primarily heard in UK, Australia. A: "Did you guys win today?" B: "We sure did! We beat them all hollow: 10-0!" I worked so hard on this project and beat it all hollow—everyone else's looked so bad compared to mine!
beat (one) hollow
To defeat an opponent easily and/or by a wide margin. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. The final score was 17-1? Wow, we really beat that team hollow!
To sound or give the sense of being false, insincere, or not genuine. The statements that followed made her apology ring hollow. The dialogue in the film rings hollow—no one talks like that in real life.
To seem or sound false, insincere, inauthentic, or deceitful. (Much less common than the opposite, "ring true.") I personally think that their reasoning rings a bit false. The actor's vacuous, overblown performance is sure to ring false for anyone who grew up in that part of the country.
have (a) hollow leg(s)
To be able to consume a larger amount of food or drink (especially alcohol) than is typical. The steakhouse, known for its huge portions, is introducing a number of smaller menu items for those who don't have a hollow leg. The way she drinks on a night out, you'd swear she has hollow legs.
in the hollow of (one's) hand
Under one's total influence, domination, or control. Often used in the blessing "May God hold/keep you in the hollow of His hand." At this point in history, these four men held the entirety of Europe in the hollow of their hands. She now has the entire company in the hollow of her hand. We are all sending our thoughts and prayers to you and your family during this tragic time. May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
hollow something out
to make the inside of something hollow. Martha hollowed the book out and put her money inside. She hollowed out a book.
to have a hollow leg
Fig. to have a great capacity or need for food or drink. Bobby can drink more beer than I can afford. I think he has a hollow leg!
see under beat the pants off.
beat the pants off
Also, beat hollow. Win decisively over someone, outdo. For example, When it comes to the Patriots' Day parade, Lexington beats the pants off the neighboring towns , or This beer beats the other brands hollow. Both phrases use beat in the sense of "surpass." Pants off has served as an intensifier since about 1930; the variant dates from about 1775.
Also, have a false or hollow ring ; strike a false note. Seem wrong or deceitful, as in Her denial rings false-I'm sure she was there when it happened, or His good wishes always seem to have a hollow ring, or Carol's congratulatory phone call really struck a false note. Ring false and the antonym, ring true, which means "seem genuine," allude to the old practice of judging a coin genuine or fake by the sound it gives out when tapped. This practice became obsolete when coins ceased to be made of precious metals, but by then the idioms were being used to refer to other matters. [Mid-1800s]
beat someone hollowBRITISH
If you beat someone hollow, you defeat them completely. Radio's attempts at horror are generally beaten hollow by the terrifying capabilities of cinema. If she hadn't been wearing high-heeled shoes, she would have beaten him hollow.
COMMON If a statement or promise rings hollow or sounds hollow, it does not seem true or sincere. Now the promise of a long, secure career rings hollow, employers must find new ways to attract staff. Official claims that the two countries are close friends sound increasingly hollow. Note: You can also say that a statement or promise has a hollow ring. The Government's claim to be making record investments in railways has a very hollow ring. Compare with ring true. Note: The idea is of an object that is meant to be solid making a loud noise when struck, indicating that it is weaker or cheaper than it was believed to be.
beat the pants offprove to be vastly superior to. informal
1990 Paul Auster The Music of Chance ‘Not bad, kid,’ Nashe said. ‘You beat the pants off me.’