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 the catch rule was simplified in the offseason to eliminate the caveat a receiver had to control the ball to the ground. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks Play of the Week: Lions game was won on the strength of one-on-one battles like this one," 30 Oct. 2018 Rogozin’s reliance on the Angara-5 rocket, as a basis of the program, is also not without a big caveat. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "Russia Is Riled Up About Being Left Behind in Space," 10 Oct. 2018 However, that support came with a last-minute caveat that holds major implications for a final vote. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Committee advances Kavanaugh nomination in party-line vote, as Flake seeks delay," 29 Sep. 2018 But fasting comes with its own caveats: a higher risk of binge eating, low blood pressure, irritability and headaches. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Not So Fast," 24 Sep. 2018 Like T-Mobile’s unlimited plans, Metro’s will also have its own caveats. Natt Garun, The Verge, "MetroPCS rebranded with new unlimited plans that offer Google One and Amazon Prime perks," 24 Sep. 2018 The architects designed the house to feel open and airy but with a clever design caveat. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "This modern house shape shifts in Oregon’s high desert," 27 Aug. 2018 One caveat, though: If your friend gets this, your friend will 'gram it. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "The Best Gift To Give The Person Who's Been Through Hell And Back With You," 20 Aug. 2018 That speaks to the larger caveat: MileagePlus is complicated. Ryan Craggs, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Frequent Flier and Airline Rewards Programs in the U.S.," 27 July 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

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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something that serves to warn or remind

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