ca·​va·​tel·​li | \ ˌkä-və-ˈte-lē How to pronounce cavatelli (audio) \

Definition of cavatelli

: pasta in the form of small shells having rolled edges

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of cavatelli

1945, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cavatelli

borrowed from Italian, from dialectal (Molise) cavatièllə, chęvętiéllə (masculine plural), diminutive of caviatə, chęvatə “hollowed out pasta made from semolina and usually potato,” from plural of cavatə, chęvatə “hollowed out, concave,” from past participle of cavà, chęvà “to hollow out” (Tuscan cavare)

Note: Dialect forms are from Ernesto Giammarco, Dizionario abruzzese e molisano, vol. 1, Rome: Edizioni dell’Ateneo, 1968; the symbols é and è represent open and close e respectively in tonic syllables, and ę open e in an atonic syllable.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About cavatelli

Time Traveler for cavatelli

Time Traveler

The first known use of cavatelli was in 1945

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near cavatelli




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cavatelli

Cite this Entry

“Cavatelli.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!