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Hollow vs. Hallow: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on November 10, 2023
"Hollow" refers to something empty or having a void inside, while "hallow" means to make holy or sacred.

Key Differences

"Hollow" describes an object that is empty or contains a space inside, such as a hollow tree. In contrast, "hallow" is a verb meaning to make something holy or greatly revered, as in hallowing a religious site.
The term "hollow" can also imply a sense of emptiness or lack of substance, whether physically or in terms of content, like a hollow argument. "Hallow," however, is often associated with religious or spiritual reverence, indicating the act of honoring or sanctifying something.
"Hollow" can be used as an adjective, noun, or verb, with applications in various contexts, like a hollow sound or feeling hollow. "Hallow" is primarily used as a verb and is less common in everyday language, mostly seen in religious or formal contexts.
In literature and speech, "hollow" often symbolizes emptiness or futility, such as in expressions like 'a hollow victory.' "Hallow" carries a tone of respect and sacredness, used in contexts that elevate the status of a person, place, or event.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Adjective, Noun, Verb


Empty, Void Inside
To Make Holy or Sacred

Usage in Language

Common, in varied contexts
Less common, primarily religious


Emptiness, Lack of Substance
Sacredness, Reverence

Example Contexts

Nature, Physical Objects, Feelings
Religious Ceremonies, Sanctification

Hollow and Hallow Definitions


Without real value.
Her apology felt hollow.


To sanctify or bless.
The priest hallowed the water.


Resonating as if in a void.
The room echoed with a hollow sound.


To set apart for holy use.
The ritual cup was hallowed.


Empty inside.
The log was hollow.


To consecrate as holy.
The church was hallowed ground.


To make a hole or cavity.
They hollowed out a space in the rock.


To honor as sacred.
They hallow the memory of their ancestors.


Sunken or depressed.
He had hollow cheeks.


To make venerable.
Tradition hallowed the ancient rituals.


Deeply indented or concave; sunken
"His bearded face already has a set, hollow look" (Conor Cruise O'Brien).


To make or set apart as holy.


Having a cavity, gap, or space within
A hollow wall.


To respect or honor greatly; revere.


Without substance or character
A hollow person.


A holy person or saint.


Devoid of truth or validity; specious
"Theirs is at best a hollow form of flattery" (Annalyn Swan).


A sacred or magical object.


A saint; a holy person; an apostle.
All Hallows Eve (or Halloween), the night before All Hallows Day (now more commonly known as "All Saints Day").


The relics or shrines of saints or non-Christian gods.
To seek hallows: to visit relics or shrines, in the belief that the saints themselves are present there.


A shout, cry; a hulloo.


(transitive) To make holy, to sanctify.


To shout, especially to urge on dogs for hunting.


To make holy; to set apart for holy or religious use; to consecrate; to treat or keep as sacred; to reverence.
Hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work therein.
His secret altar touched with hallowed fire.
In a larger sense . . . we can not hallow this ground [Gettysburg].


Render holy by means of religious rites


Is 'hallow' commonly used today?

It's less common and mostly used in religious contexts.

What are examples of 'hollow' in nature?

Hollow trees or caves.

What is the meaning of 'hallow'?

To make something holy or sacred.

Can 'hollow' be used figuratively?

Yes, for something lacking depth or sincerity.

Are 'hollow' and 'hallow' related etymologically?

No, they have different origins.

What does 'hollow' mean?

Refers to something empty or having an internal void.

Is 'hollow' a common word?

Yes, it's widely used in various contexts.

Can 'hollow' be both a verb and a noun?

Yes, it can function as both.

Does 'hallow' have synonyms?

Yes, like sanctify, consecrate, bless.

Can 'hallow' be used for people?

Yes, in honoring or venerating someone.

Can 'hollow' describe feelings?

Yes, like feeling empty or unfulfilled.

Can 'hallow' be used in non-religious contexts?

Rarely, it's primarily religious.

What's an example of 'hallow' in a sentence?

"The ceremony will hallow the site."

What does a 'hollow' sound mean?

A sound with an echo, as if in an empty space.

Does 'hallow' appear in historical texts?

Frequently, especially in religious documents.

How is 'hallow' used in religion?

To sanctify places or objects.

Are there idioms using 'hollow'?

Yes, like "a hollow victory."

Does 'hallow' imply respect?

Yes, it denotes reverence and respect.

Is 'hallow' used in modern writing?

Mostly in formal or religious writing.

Can 'hollow' refer to physical characteristics?

Yes, like hollow cheeks or eyes.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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