From Middle English emty, amty, from Old English ǣmtiġ, ǣmettiġ (“vacant, empty, free, idle, unmarried”, literally “without must or obligation, leisurely”), from Proto-Germanic *uz- (“out”) + Proto-Germanic *mōtijô, *mōtô (“must, obligation, need”), *mōtiþô (“ability, accommodation”), from Proto-Indo-European *med- (“measure; to acquire, possess, be in command”). Related to Old English ġeǣmtiġian (“to empty”), Old English ǣmetta (“leisure”), Old English mōtan (“must, might, have to”). More at mote, meet.
- Devoid of content; containing nothing or nobody; vacant.
- Synonyms: unoccupied, clear, (obsolete) leer, toom, clean
- Antonym: full
- an empty purse
- an empty jug
- an empty stomach
- 1949 June 8, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 1, in Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel, London: Secker & Warburg, OCLC 690663892; republished [Australia]: Project Gutenberg of Australia, August 2001, part 2, page 103:
- […] something in the little man's appearance suggested that he would be sufficiently attentive to his own comfort to choose the emptiest table.
- 2011 October 23, Phil McNulty, “Man Utd 1 - 6 Man City”, in BBC Sport:
- United's stature is such that one result must not bring the immediate announcement of a shift in the balance of power in Manchester - but the swathes of empty seats around Old Trafford and the wave of attacks pouring towards David de Gea's goal in the second half emphasised that City quite simply have greater firepower and talent in their squad at present.
- (computing, programming, mathematics) Containing no elements (as of a string, array, or set), opposed to being null (having no valid value).
- Antonym: non-empty
- (obsolete) Free; clear; devoid; often with of.
- c. 1595–1596, William Shakespeare, “Loues Labour’s Lost”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene ii], page 144:
- And I ſhal finde you emptie of that fault, / Right ioyfull of your reformation.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book XI”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 614-617:
- For that fair femal Troop thou sawst, that seemd / Of Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay, / Yet empty of all good wherein consists / Womans domestic honour and chief praise;
- Having nothing to carry, emptyhanded; unburdened.
- c. 1605–1608, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Tymon of Athens”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene vi], page 89:
- I hope it remaines not vnkindly with your Lordſhip, that I return'd you an empty Meſſenger.
- Destitute of effect, sincerity, or sense; said of language.
- empty words, or threats
- empty offer
- empty promises
- Unable to satisfy; hollow; vain.
- empty pleasures
- Destitute of reality, or real existence; unsubstantial.
- empty dreams
- Destitute of, or lacking, sense, knowledge, or courtesy.
- empty brains
- an empty coxcomb
- c. 1598–1600, William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene vii], page 203, column 2:
- Art thou thus bolden'd man by thy diſtres? / Or elſe a rude deſpiſer of good manners, / That in ciuility thou ſeem'ſt ſo emptie?
- (of some female animals, especially cows and sheep) Not pregnant; not producing offspring when expected to do so during the breeding season.
- Empty cow rates have increased in recent years.
- (obsolete, of a plant or tree) Producing nothing; unfruitful.
- an empty vine
- (transitive, ergative) To make empty; to void; to remove the contents of.
- to empty a well or a cistern
- The cinema emptied quickly after the end of the film.
- (intransitive) Of a river, duct, etc: to drain or flow toward an ultimate destination.
- Salmon River empties on the W shore about 2 miles below Bear River.
- 1899, Horace White, trans., Appian:
- Of these the Rhine empties into the Northern ocean and the Danube into the Euxine.
empty (plural empties)
- (usually plural) A container, especially a bottle, whose contents have been used up, leaving it empty.
- Put the empties out to be recycled.
- 2019 October, Steve Stubbs, photo caption, “'60' on the stone”, in Modern Railways, page 20:
- A number of locomotives have been drafted into the area to cover the traction shortfall, including two Class 60s: here No 60039 accelerates away from Eastleigh on the Chandlers Ford branch with the lunchtime Fareham to Whatley quarry empties [empty wagons] on 20 August 2019.