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Hollow vs. Void: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 6, 2023
Hollow refers to an empty space inside an object, while void denotes a complete absence of matter or a void space.

Key Differences

A hollow is a space or a cavity within something, whereas a void is an entirely empty space where nothing exists. Hollow can refer to an unfilled space within a solid object or material. On the other hand, void suggests a total emptiness, an absence that may be physical or conceptual.
When describing something as hollow, one often refers to the physical properties it possesses, such as a hollow tree or a hollow chocolate bunny, implying a space inside that is devoid of material. In contrast, void can be used in a broader sense, not only referring to a physical gap but also to the absence of non-physical entities like emotion or meaning.
The term hollow might be used metaphorically to describe something that lacks depth or real value, such as a statement or promise. Void, however, can denote a legal or contractual state where something is declared invalid or non-binding, emphasizing the absence of legal force or substance.
One might speak of a feeling of hollowness, often connoting a sense of emotional emptiness or meaninglessness. Void in a similar emotional context can convey a deeper sense of absence or nullity, often associated with feelings of loss or desolation.
Despite their differences, both hollow and void convey the idea of emptiness. Hollow emphasizes the contrast between the outer form and the empty space within, while void emphasizes the total absence of content, form, or substance.

Comparison Chart


A cavity or space within something
A completely empty space

Physical Presence

Implies a structure surrounding emptiness
May not imply a surrounding structure

Metaphorical Use

Often implies lack of substance or depth
Suggests a profound emptiness or nullity

Use in Language

Can describe physical and emotional state
Often used in abstract, emotional, or legal contexts

Associated Connotations

Can suggest deception or disappointment
Can imply a legal state of nullification or an existential concept

Hollow and Void Definitions


Sounding empty or echoing.
His laughter seemed hollow in the empty hall.


A feeling of emptiness or loss.
After his departure, she felt an emotional void in her life.


Having a space or cavity inside.
The children enjoyed listening to the echoes in the hollow tree.


A gap or interruption in continuity.
The blackout caused a void in communication systems.


Lacking in real value, sincerity, or substance.
Her apology was hollow, as she did not show true remorse.


Space; the quality of being without something.
In space, astronauts experience the vast void around them.


Not solid; having a depression or hole.
She served the salad in a hollowed-out loaf of bread.


Completely empty; having no legal force or effect.
The contract was declared void by the judge.


Hollow-eyed: appearing exhausted or haggard.
After days without sleep, she was hollow-eyed and pale.


A vacant area or unoccupied space.
The abandoned warehouse stood as a void in the bustling city.


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


Containing no matter; empty.


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


Not occupied; unfilled.


Can an object be both hollow and void?

Yes, if an object has an empty space within that is also completely empty of matter, it can be described as both hollow and void.

Can hollow and void be used interchangeably?

No, hollow usually describes a space within something, while void denotes complete emptiness or absence.

What does hollow mean in a metaphorical sense?

Metaphorically, hollow can describe something that lacks depth, sincerity, or meaningful content.

Is void always a negative term?

Void often has negative connotations, but it can be neutral when describing simply an absence.

Can void have a scientific meaning?

Yes, in physics and astronomy, void can refer to large empty spaces in the universe.

Does hollow imply the presence of an outer form?

Yes, hollow typically implies that there is an external form with an empty space inside.

Can void refer to emotional states?

Yes, void can describe a profound sense of emptiness or loss.

What does it mean when a legal document is void?

It means the document has no legal effect or validity.

Is void a noun, a verb, or an adjective?

Void can function as all three: a noun (an empty space), a verb (to invalidate), and an adjective (lacking contents).

Can hollow refer to sounds?

Yes, hollow can describe sounds that seem empty or echoing.

Can void be created?

In a conceptual sense, voids can be created when something is removed; in physics, creating a true void is more complex.

What is a hollow victory?

A hollow victory is one where the success feels empty or unsatisfying.

What does it mean to void a check?

To void a check means to cancel it or make it unusable.

Is void used in mathematics?

Void can be used in mathematics to describe an empty set, a set that contains no elements.

What does the phrase "nature abhors a vacuum" relate to?

This phrase relates to the concept of void, suggesting that empty spaces are unnatural and tend to be filled.

Can hollow be a feeling?

Yes, someone can feel hollow, meaning they feel an emptiness inside.

Can the term hollow be used in architecture?

Yes, architects may refer to hollow structures, like a hollow column that is not solid.

What does it mean when someone has a hollow look?

It means they appear to have no emotional engagement or are exhausted, often with sunken features.

How is hollow used in literature?

Authors may use hollow to describe settings or characters that lack depth or are empty in some way.

Does void have a place in philosophy?

Yes, philosophers may use void to discuss concepts of emptiness, non-being, or absence.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
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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