caveat

noun
ca·​ve·​at | \ ˈka-vē-ˌät How to pronounce caveat (audio) , -ˌat, ˈkä-vē-ˌät How to pronounce caveat (audio) ; ˈkā-vē-ˌat\

Definition of caveat

1a : a warning enjoining one from certain acts or practices a caveat against unfair practices
b : an explanation to prevent misinterpretation
c : a modifying or cautionary detail to be considered when evaluating, interpreting, or doing something The driving instructor gave his students this caveat: if you are driving under the speed limit, stay in the far right lane.
2 : a legal warning to a judicial officer to suspend a proceeding until the opposition has a hearing

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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.")

Examples of caveat in a Sentence

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 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 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 … 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 His investment advice comes with a caveat: that the stock market is impossible to predict with absolute accuracy.
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Recent Examples on the Web

One caveat: The press box might be too far from the surface. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, "D-Day anniversary truly puts hockey, life in perspective," 8 June 2019 The big caveat here: the deals are only applicable to Amazon Prime subscribers. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: Take $40 off a 32GB Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet," 18 Sep. 2018 One caveat: For all the tranquility that a night or two at Collective Governors Island offers, late evening is also when nightlife on the waterways comes alive with party boats. Fortune, "'Glamping' Has Officially Come to New York City," 12 July 2018 One big caveat: Smaller subgroups, such as Hispanics in Broward, can have a much larger margin of error than the overall poll. Anthony Man, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Rick Scott leads Bill Nelson in poll of South Florida Hispanic voters," 12 July 2018 The one caveat: Only 2,000 fans will be allowed in each day. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "Want to see the Miami Dolphins at training camp? Here are the dates to know," 28 June 2018 The only caveat is the loss of tight end Hunter Henry (ACL), which hurts, even if Antonio Gates is brought back. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "Best in the AFC West: 10 Thoughts on the 2018 Chargers," 18 June 2018 Even more so than his traditional statistics, Soto’s chase rate must be taken with the small sample caveat. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Why Nationals teen-phenom Juan Soto may be here to stay," 14 June 2018 The offers come with a caveat: Schools that want his money have to accept his ideas about building design, too. ... Jason Zweig, WSJ, "Buffett Partner Charlie Munger Has a Side Gig: Designing College Dorms," 2 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caveat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of caveat

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for caveat

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

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Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for caveat

The first known use of caveat was in 1533

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More Definitions for caveat

caveat

noun

English Language Learners Definition of caveat

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

caveat

noun
ca·​ve·​at | \ ˈka-vē-ˌät, -ˌat; ˈkä-vē-ˌät, ˈkā-vē-ˌat How to pronounce caveat (audio) \

Legal Definition of caveat

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

Other Words from caveat

caveat verb

History and Etymology for caveat

Latin, may he/she beware

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More from Merriam-Webster on caveat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with caveat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for caveat

Nglish: Translation of caveat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of caveat for Arabic Speakers

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