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noun ca·ve·at \ˈka-vē-ˌät, -ˌat; ˈkä-vē-ˌät; ˈkā-vē-ˌat\

Simple Definition of caveat

  • : an explanation or warning that should be remembered when you are doing or thinking about something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of caveat

  1. 1 a :  a warning enjoining one from certain acts or practices b :  an explanation to prevent misinterpretation c :  a modifying or cautionary detail to be considered when evaluating, interpreting, or doing something

  2. 2 :  a legal warning to a judicial officer to suspend a proceeding until the opposition has a hearing

Examples of caveat in a sentence

  1. Sound great? There's just one caveat: Knowledge about how genes work is still in the scientific Stone Age. —Andrea Knox, Chicago Tribune, 4 Aug. 2000

  2. We'll add a caveat of our own for parents: After your kids walk through 17,500 gal. of swirling water, they're not going to be satisfied running through the lawn sprinkler. —Jim Wilson, Popular Mechanics, July 1999

  3. But the youthquake in the new economy comes with a caveat that also may begin applying to politics. If you're inexperienced and you want a big job, you'd better be smart as hell. —Jonathan Alter, Newsweek, 22 Nov. 1999

  4. … a cluster bomb can destroy objects over a wider area, with the important caveat that it is effective only if the bomblets have sufficient destructive power on their own. —Norman Friedman, Desert Victory, 1991

  5. His investment advice comes with a caveat: that the stock market is impossible to predict with absolute accuracy.

Did You Know?

You may be familiar with the old saying "caveat emptor," nowadays loosely translated as "let the buyer beware." In the 16th century, this adage was imparted as a safeguard for the seller: allow the buyer to examine the item (for example, a horse) before the sale is completed, so the seller can't be blamed if the item turns out to be unsatisfactory. "Caveat" in Latin means let him beware and comes from the verb "cavēre" ("to be on guard"). Perhaps you've also heard "caveat lector": "let the reader beware," a warning to take what one reads with a grain of salt. English retained "caveat" itself as a noun for something that serves to warn, explain, or caution. (The word caution is another descendant of "cavēre.")

Origin and Etymology of caveat

Latin, let him beware, from cavēre — more at hear

First Known Use: 1533

Law Dictionary


noun ca·ve·at \ˈka-vē-ˌät, -ˌat; ˈkä-vē-ˌät, ˈkā-vē-ˌat\

Legal Definition of caveat

  1. 1a :  a warning enjoining one from certain acts or practices b :  an explanation to prevent a misinterpretation

  2. 2 :  a notice to a court or judicial officer to suspend a proceeding until the opposition can be heard <a caveat entered in the probate court to stop the proving of the will>



Origin and Etymology of caveat

Latin, may he/she beware

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up caveat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to depart quickly

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