The Sacred and the Empty: Distinguishing Hallow and Hollow

Hallow and hollow are two English words that are often confused due to their close (albeit not too close) spelling and pronunciation. However, they have different meanings and uses in grammar.


The word ‘hallow’ is a verb that means to make holy or sacred, to consecrate, to sanctify, or to venerate. In the Christian religion, ‘Hallow’ is often used as an abbreviation of ‘All Hallows,’ a term that refers to All Saints’ Day.

On the other hand, the word ‘hollow’ is an adjective that means empty, lacking substance, or having a hole or depression. It can also be used as a noun to refer to a cavity or depression in a solid body or surface.


Hallow is mainly used in religious or spiritual contexts, such as “The church was hallowed by centuries of prayer and worship.”

Hollow, on the other hand, is used in a variety of contexts, both literal and figurative, such as “A hollow tree,” “Her laughter was hollow,” or “His promises were found to be hollow.”


The main difference between ‘hallow’ and ‘hollow’ lies in their meaning. While ‘hallow’ refers to making something holy or sacred, ‘hollow’ refers to the lack of substance or emptiness.

In conclusion, while ‘hallow’ and ‘hollow’ may look and sound similar, they are two different words with different meanings and uses in the English language. It is important to understand and use them correctly to communicate effectively.

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