ca·​va·​tel·​li ˌkä-və-ˈte-lē How to pronounce cavatelli (audio)
: pasta in the form of small shells having rolled edges

Word History


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.

First Known Use

1945, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cavatelli was in 1945

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!

Dictionary Entries Near cavatelli

Cite this Entry

“Cavatelli.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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