caveat

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

But there are some important caveats not mentioned in the opponents attack ads. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Who would pay a state carbon fee on November ballot, and who gets a pass?," 17 Sep. 2018 The scientists’ findings come with some important caveats. John Rennie, WIRED, "This Mutation Math Shows How Life Keeps on Evolving," 1 July 2018 An important caveat, says Farchione, is that this varies by personality. Alex Van Buren, Health.com, "3 Ways Cooking Might Help Ease Your Anxiety," 15 June 2018 That statement too, however, comes cloaked in caveats. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Inside the Enduring Mystery of What Happened to Russia's Imperial Jewelry," 1 Nov. 2018 But there’s a critical caveat to keep in mind about the development: The treatment has only been tested in mice. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Scientists Say They've Made Progress on an Artificial Ovary to Help Cancer Patients. There's a Catch," 2 July 2018 This circuit breaker is still in homes despite safety concerns A quick caveat for our methodology — if Google and Amazon gave us a complete, audio answer to the question, that counted as a successful response. Jefferson Graham, ajc, "Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant were asked 150 questions. Here's who got the most right," 9 May 2018 So far, the biggest caveat in the research is the fact that success has been documented in women with fairly straightforward fertility issues. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "These Two Women Both ‘Carried’ Their Baby Using Reciprocal Effortless IVF," 16 Nov. 2018 The caveat, though, is that the UK would also have to abide by many of the EU laws and regulations that govern the single market and customs union. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The latest Brexit drama, explained," 15 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for caveat

Last Updated

14 Jan 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

: 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 \

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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