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 Beyond that important caveat, early America represents a wholly unrecognizable mode of political economy, one in which most of the country lived in rural areas and worked in agriculture and in which slavery was widespread. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 4 May 2021 Aside from that exception/caveat, Bob Odenkirk’s action comedy pulled a clean sweep. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2021 Bjork would clarify later in an interview with The Houston Chronicle that the 100 percent capacity comes with the caveat that the program would have to actually sell 100 percent of the tickets. Brice Paterik, Dallas News, 24 May 2021 Because the Food and Drug Administration has authorized only the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, many universities have added a caveat to try to protect themselves from liability. New York Times, 22 May 2021 Plagues have historically reduced income inequality by reducing the labor supply, with the necessary caveat that in order to enjoy this higher standard of living the worker in question must remain one of the living. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 21 May 2021 Range is much improved from early versions with the caveat about overheating problems after constant recharging. Neil Winton, Forbes, 19 May 2021 As with everything else in the COVID era, the announcement came with a caveat or two. al, 17 May 2021 These statistics help build a more complete picture of the Cubs defense, thoughdefensive sabermetrics always come with the caveat regarding sample size. Meghan Montemurro, chicagotribune.com, 14 May 2021

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

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Caveat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/caveat. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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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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