Language: Old English
Origin: fyllan; related to FULL1


1 verb
fill1 S1 W1

become/make full

also fill up [intransitive and transitive] if a container or place fills, or if you fill it, enough of something goes into it to make it full:
He poured her a drink, then filled his own glass.
My job was filling the flour sacks.
Take a deep breath and allow your lungs to fill.
fill something to the brim/to overflowing (=fill something completely)
a bucket filled to the brim with ice
There was just enough wind to fill the sails.
Miller's band was filling dancehalls (=attracting a lot of people) all over the country.

large thing/number

[transitive] if a thing or group fills something, there is no space left:
Crowds of well-wishers filled the streets.
His wartime experiences would fill a book!
All the seats were filled and a number of people were standing.
Numerous pictures fill every available space.


[transitive]C if a sound, smell, or light fills a place, you notice it because it is very loud or strong:
The smell of freshly baked bread filled the room.
be filled with something
The air was filled with the sound of children's laughter.


[transitive] if you are filled with an emotion, or if it fills you, you feel it very strongly
be filled with admiration/joy/happiness etc
I was filled with admiration for her.
be filled with horror/fear/anger/doubt/remorse
Their faces were suddenly filled with fear.
fill somebody with something
The prospect filled him with horror.

provide something

[transitive] to provide something that is needed or wanted but which has not been available or present before
fill a need/demand
Volunteers fill a real need for teachers in the Somali Republic.
fill a gap/hole/niche etc
I spent most of the summer filling the gaps in my education.
The company has moved quickly to fill the niche in the overnight travel market.

spend time

[transitive] if you fill a period of time with a particular activity, you spend that time doing it
fill your time/the days etc (with something)
I have no trouble filling my time.

perform a job

[transitive] to perform a particular job, activity, or purpose in an organization, or to find someone or something to do this
fill a post/position/vacancy etc
Women fill 35% of senior management positions.
Thank you for your letter. Unfortunately, the vacancy has already been filled.
The UK should find another weapon to fill the same role.


also fill in [transitive] to put a substance into a hole, crack etc to make a surface level:
Fill in any cracks before starting to paint.
materials developed to fill tooth cavities

fill yourself (up)/fill your face

informal to eat so much food that you cannot eat any more

fill an order

BBT to supply the goods that a customer has ordered:
The company is struggling to fill $11 million in back orders.

fill the bill

American English to have exactly the right qualities [= fit the bill British English]
We needed an experienced reporter and Willis fills the bill.

fill somebody's shoes

to do the work that someone else normally does, especially when this is difficult because they have set a high standard

fill in

phrasal verb


fill something ↔ in

to write all the necessary information on an official document, form etc:
Don't forget to fill in your boarding cards.

tell somebody news

fill somebody ↔ in

to tell someone about recent events, especially because they have been away from a place
fill somebody ↔ in on
I think you'd better fill me in on what's been happening.


fill something ↔ in

to put a substance into a hole, crack etc so it is completely full and level

fill in time

to spend time doing something unimportant because you are waiting for something to happen:
She flipped through a magazine to fill in the time.


fill something ↔ in

to paint or draw over the space inside a shape

do somebody's job

to do someone's job because they are not there
fill in for
I'm filling in for Joe for a few days.

fill out

phrasal verb

fill something ↔ out

to write all the necessary information on an official document, form etc
2 if you fill out, or your body fills out, you become slightly fatter:
Eric has filled out around the waist.
3 if a young person fills out, their body becomes more like an adult's body, for example by having bigger muscles, developing breasts etc:
At puberty, a girl's body begins to fill out.

fill something ↔ out

to add more details to a description or story

fill up

phrasal verb
1 if a container or place fills up, or if you fill it up, it becomes full
fill something ↔ up
Shall I fill the car up (=with petrol)?

fill (yourself) up

informal to eat so much food that you cannot eat any more
fill (yourself) up with/on
Don't fill yourself up with cookies.
He filled up on pecan pie.

fill somebody up

informal food that fills you up makes you feel as though you have eaten a lot when you have only eaten a small amount

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