AskDefine | Define emptiness

Dictionary Definition



1 the state of containing nothing [ant: fullness]
2 having an empty stomach
3 an empty area or space; "the huge desert voids"; "the emptiness of outer space"; "without their support he'll be ruling in a vacuum" [syn: void, vacancy, vacuum]
4 the quality of being valueless or futile; "he rejected the vanities of the world" [syn: vanity]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The state or feeling of being empty


the state or feeling of being empty

Extensive Definition

Emptiness as a human condition can be thought of in multiple ways.
Emptiness is often a painful experience or feeling. EX:"Empty is the sky before the sun wakes up, Empty is the eyes of animals in cages, Empty are the faces of women in mourning, When everything has been taken from them, Me? Don't ask me about empty"-Chiodos
In the painful sense, it is described as a feeling of numbness, inability to feel anything emotionally, or not having purpose. It can be better described as a situation where a certain lack or lacks in one's life overtake the emotional and mental focus in an obsessive, sometimes subconscious manner. Feelings of emptiness often accompany chronic discontent, dysthymia, depression, loneliness, despair, or other mental/emotional disorders such as borderline personality disorder. It may seek expression through different types of self-harming behaviors, and in more extreme cases, suicide.
Emptiness often involves alienation, be it temporary or acquired, and sometimes self-hatred. Persons tending to feel emptiness often come from problematic familial backgrounds. If at all there was a family nucleus, their needs were ignored, they were considered second class, they experienced many separations, or there was outright abuse (see also the role of childhood abuse in BPD individuals).
A sense of emptiness is not always associated as such, and may be part of a natural process of grief, as resulting of separation, death of a loved one, or other significant changes to one's life.

Dealing with emptiness

Some people may find psychotherapy beneficial. Self-occupation is important if the afflicted person is to hold off the negative effects, and avoid the natural aggravation of the untreated emotion.
In cases of unemployed individuals, getting into the work market may help them enrich their lives, although pitfalls such as in the case of depression may prevent them from mustering the efforts of searching for a job. In such cases it is advisable to seek professional job placement help. Governmental agencies may offer help in this domain as well.
Other solutions possible are:


Further reading

  • Moss, Robert. Understanding Emptiness: The Think/Feel Conflict. R. A. Moss, 1993. ISBN 0-9638848-0-8
  • Sanders, Catherine. How to Survive the Loss of a Child: Filling the Emptiness and Rebuilding Your Life. Three Rivers Press, 1998. ISBN 0-7615128-9-6
emptiness in Hebrew: ריקנות
emptiness in Dutch: Leegte
emptiness in Polish: Pustka (uczucie)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

absence, absence of mind, absurdity, acreage, aimlessness, angst, anguish, anxiety, appetite, area, aridity, bareness, barrenness, big deal, blankness, bleakness, bloodlessness, bootlessness, boredom, breadth, canine appetite, casuistry, characterlessness, cheerlessness, colorlessness, continuum, crossed fingers, dead letter, deadness, deprivation, desertedness, desolateness, desolation, dimension, discomfort, discomposure, discontent, disingenuousness, dislike, dismalness, displeasure, disquiet, dissatisfaction, dragginess, dread, dreariness, drought, dryness, dullness, dustiness, effeteness, emotionlessness, empty sound, empty space, empty stomach, empty-headedness, ennui, etiolation, existential woe, expanse, expansion, expressionlessness, extension, extent, fatuity, fecklessness, field, flatness, flimsiness, foolishness, frivolity, frivolousness, fruitlessness, futility, galactic space, grimness, heaviness, hollow hunger, hollow mockery, hollowness, hunger, hungriness, idleness, impotence, inanition, inanity, ineffectiveness, ineffectuality, inefficacy, inexcitability, infinite space, inquietude, insignificance, insincerity, insipidity, insipidness, interstellar space, jejunity, jesuitry, joylessness, lack of pleasure, leadenness, levity, lifelessness, lightness, lowness of spirit, malaise, meaninglessness, measure, mental void, mere noise, mockery, nausea, negation, negativeness, negativity, nihility, noise, nonbeing, nonentity, nonexistence, nongratification, noninhabitance, nonoccupance, nonoccupancy, nonoccurrence, nonreality, nonresidence, nonsatisfaction, nonsensicality, nonsubsistence, not-being, nothingness, nugacity, nullity, opening, otiosity, outer space, painfulness, paleness, pallor, phatic communion, place open, pointlessness, pokiness, polydipsia, ponderousness, profitlessness, proportion, purposelessness, rat race, relish, savorlessness, senselessness, shallowness, silliness, slenderness, slightness, slowness, solemnity, sophistry, space, spatial extension, sphere, spiritlessness, spleen, spread, staleness, sterility, stiffness, stodginess, stomach, stuffiness, superficial extension, superficiality, surface, sweet tooth, tapeworm, taste, tastelessness, tediousness, tedium, the absurd, thirst, thirstiness, tongue in cheek, torment of Tantalus, tract, triflingness, triteness, triviality, trivialness, unactuality, uncandidness, uncandor, uncomfortableness, unease, uneasiness, unfrankness, unhappiness, uninterestingness, unliveliness, unmeaningness, unpleasure, unproductiveness, unprofitability, unprofitableness, unreality, unsatisfaction, unsignificancy, uselessness, vacancy, vacant post, vacantness, vacuity, vacuousness, vacuum, valuelessness, vanity, vapidity, vapidness, vexation of spirit, vicious circle, void, voidness, volume, woodenness, worthlessness
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