a. Holding or containing nothing.
b. Mathematics Having no elements or members; null: an empty set.
- Having no occupants or inhabitants; vacant: an empty chair; empty desert.
- Lacking force or power: an empty threat.
- Lacking purpose or substance; meaningless: an empty life.
- Not put to use; idle: empty hours.
- Needing nourishment; hungry: “More fierce and more inexorable far/Than empty tigers or the roaring sea” (Shakespeare).
- Devoid; destitute: empty of pity.
, emp·ties verb, transitive
- To remove the contents of: emptied the dishwasher.
- To transfer or pour off completely: empty the ashes into a pail.
- To unburden; relieve: empty oneself of doubt.
noun pl. emp·ties Informal
- To become empty: The theater emptied after the performance.
- To discharge its contents: The river empties into a bay.
An empty container.
Origin: Middle English
Origin: , from Old English ǣmtig, vacant, unoccupied
Origin: , from ǣmetta, leisure; see med- in Indo-European roots
Related Forms: Word History:
In Old English Ic eom ǣmtig
could mean “I am empty,” “I am unoccupied,” or “I am unmarried.” The sense “unoccupied, at leisure,” which did not survive Old English, points to the derivation of ǣmtig
from the Old English word ǣmetta,
“leisure, rest.” The word ǣmetta
may in turn go back to the Germanic root *mōt-,
meaning “ability, leisure.” In any case, Old English ǣmtig
also meant “vacant,” a sense that was destined to take over the meaning of the word. Empty,
the Modern English descendant of Old English ǣmtig,
has come to have the sense “idle,” so that one can speak of empty leisure.