\ ˈkāv How to pronounce cave (audio) \
plural caves

Definition of cave

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a natural chamber or series of chambers in the earth or in the side of a hill or cliff
2 : a usually underground chamber for storage a wine cave also : the articles stored there
3 : a place providing privacy or seclusion from others When a friend dragged her out of her cave to go salsa dancing for the first time, the rhythms … stepped into her soul …— Leslie Guttman — see also man cave


verb (1)
caved; caving

Definition of cave (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to form a cave in or under

intransitive verb

: to explore caves especially as a sport or hobby


verb (2)
\ ˈkāv How to pronounce cave (audio) \
caved; caving

Definition of cave (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to fall in or down especially from being undermined usually used with in
2 : to cease to resist : submit usually used with in

transitive verb

: to cause to fall or collapse usually used with in

Other Words from cave

Verb (1)

caver \ ˈkā-​vər How to pronounce cave (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for cave

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb (2)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of cave in a Sentence

Noun Kentucky's Mammoth Cave is actually a series of large chambers on five levels.

First Known Use of cave


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Verb (2)

1513, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for cave


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin cava, noun derivative from feminine of cavus "hollow, concave" — more at hole entry 1

Verb (1)

Middle English caven, in part derivative of cave cave entry 1, in part borrowed from Latin cavāre "to hollow out" — more at excavate

Verb (2)

probably alteration of calve

Learn More About cave

Time Traveler for cave

Time Traveler

The first known use of cave was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near cave




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cave

Cite this Entry

“Cave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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

More Definitions for cave


\ ˈkāv How to pronounce cave (audio) \

Kids Definition of cave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a large hollow place formed by natural processes in the side of a hill or cliff or underground


caved; caving

Kids Definition of cave (Entry 2 of 2)

: to fall or cause to fall in or down : collapse The mine caved in.

More from Merriam-Webster on cave

Nglish: Translation of cave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cave for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cave


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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