Etymology: Middle English, from Old English ǣmettig unoccupied, from ǣmetta leisure, perhaps from ǣ- without + -metta (probably akin to mōtan to have to) — more at must
Date: before 12th century
a. containing nothing <empty shelves> b. not occupied or inhabited <an empty building> c. unfrequented d. not pregnant <empty heifer> e. null 4a <the empty set> 2. a. lacking reality, substance, meaning, or value ; hollow <an empty pleasure> b. destitute of effect or force <an empty threat> c. devoid of sense ; foolish 3. hungry 4. a. idle <empty hours> b. having no purpose or result ; useless 5. marked by the absence of human life, activity, or comfort <an empty silence> • emptily adverb • emptiness noun Synonyms: empty, vacant, blank, void, vacuous mean lacking contents which could or should be present. empty suggests a complete absence of contents <an empty bucket>. vacant suggests an absence of appropriate contents or occupants <a vacant apartment>. blank stresses the absence of any significant, relieving, or intelligible features on a surface <a blank wall>. void suggests absolute emptiness as far as the mind or senses can determine <a statement void of meaning>. vacuous suggests the emptiness of a vacuum and especially the lack of intelligence or significance <a vacuous facial expression>. Synonym: see in addition vain. II. verb (emptied; emptying) Date: 1548 transitive verb 1. a. to make empty ; remove the contents of <empty a purse> b. deprive, divest <a phrase emptied of all meaning> c. to discharge (itself) of contents d. to fire (a repeating firearm) until empty 2. to remove from what holds or encloses <empty the grain from sacks> intransitive verb 1. to become empty <the theater emptied quickly> 2. to discharge contents <the river empties into the ocean> III. noun (plural empties) Date: 1865 something (as a bottle or can) that is empty
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.