I find myself struggling to find a single non-hyphenated word that expresses the state between empty and full, assuming the container started off empty.

I want to emphasize on the state of being 'not-full'. So I am not allowed to use 'nonempty'.

The word can't be 'depleted' because it assumes a container that was once full, and now has 'lessened' and became nonempty or empty. The word I am looking for should assume a container that started off empty, and now is half-full.

Example context:

  • We add the grains to a _____ silo.
  • I put the box in a _____ warehouse.
  • He parked the car in a _____ car park.

The closest word I can think of is 'unfull' but it isn't really a word. Is there a single non-hyphenated word that can express such state?

  • Is it 'filling' or 'emptying', or at a static level? Aug 5, 2019 at 15:40
  • 3
    I'd use unfilled rather than unfull. Aug 5, 2019 at 16:04
  • 1
    He parked the car in a _____ car park - you'd park your car into an empty space. Aug 5, 2019 at 16:09
  • 1
    In any remotely "formal" context I'd use a phrase - with spare capacity, for example. Aug 5, 2019 at 16:32
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a thesaurus lookup question.
    – nohat
    Aug 6, 2019 at 17:55

3 Answers 3


I think "unfilled" would work:

  • My bottle is unfilled.
  • No unfilled spaces have been found.


not filled

  • an unfilled bottle
  • unfilled spaces
  • a vacancy left unfilled
  • an unfilled order


  • 1
    This is probably as good as can be managed.
    – Mick
    Aug 5, 2019 at 18:27
  • 3
    But an unfilled bottle could be empty. I don't know of any single English word that means "not empty, and also not full". Aug 5, 2019 at 23:35
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    @LeeDanielCrocker - In fact, in my book, I would not expect any water in a bottle that was described as ”unfilled”.
    – Jim
    Aug 7, 2019 at 23:40

In the examples given by the OP, there is, in fact, no extra word required:

We add the grains to a silo.

I put the box in a warehouse.

He parked the car in a car park.

The fact of 'adding' 'putting' and 'parking' includes the information that there was space there in which to 'add' 'put' or 'park'.

That is why we have no word for the concept. That is why the English language has developed without a word to express what the OP is trying to express.

Language develops from concepts.

  • 1
    The examples are merely attempts to show where the candidate might be used. 'We hoped that there would be a _____ car park near the theatre.' The extra word is required to alter the meaning/ Aug 10, 2019 at 15:44

I would conciser one of the following for your particular case:

  • Capacious
  • Ample

In review, capacious seems particularly applicable in this specific context as based on the definition from www.dictionary.com:

Capacious: Capable of holding much; spacious or roomy.
For example: "A capacious storage bin."

But I think the key here is to realize that the magnitude qualifier is dependent on the specific context.

You would probably not use a word like "empty" or "full" to describe the air contents of a balloon. In such case you would probably more likely use "deflated" or "inflated". The fact that "empty" or "full" are generally quite broadly applicable does not necessarily imply that there exists a word in between that is also broadly applicable. Though perhaps it should, if indeed it does not yet exist. Definitely an interesting situation.


Edit: Swapped in two new word suggestions that might fit more appropriately for the given context than the ones originally suggested ("growing" and "developing").

  • 1
    Can you think of a word that would match the static swnse the asker is looking for too? Aug 5, 2019 at 16:47
  • I gave this one another go and for the particular context, I think either "capacious" or "ample" might be applicable words for the desired meaning. Aug 7, 2019 at 15:12
  • 1
    Capacious doesn't describe how much stuff is currently in a container.
    – nnnnnn
    Aug 8, 2019 at 2:01
  • 1
    ... and 'ample' doesn't say what proportion of the container is full. A huge container 1/4 full, or a medium container 98% full? Aug 10, 2019 at 15:41
  • @nnnnnn good point..! Aug 12, 2019 at 15:22

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