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

There are indeed caveats, mostly to do with imperfect climate models. Quirin Schiermeier, Scientific American, "Climate Change Made Europe’s Mega-Heatwave Five Times More Likely," 3 July 2019 Amazon’s Echo devices, also known as Alexa to the multitude of people who constantly boss the voice assistant around, delete recordings upon users’ requests — but there are caveats. Levi Sumagaysay, The Mercury News, "Do you talk to Alexa a lot? Here’s what Amazon keeps and deletes," 3 July 2019 But there are of, course, a few caveats and exceptions. Anne Roderique-jones, SELF, "Something I Can't Recommend Enough: Fighting With Your Partner Over Email," 20 June 2019 Regarding a real star for Fisher, the chamber welcomes a petition for the Princess Leia actress, but there are a few caveats. Nardine Saad, latimes.com, "Here’s why Carrie Fisher won’t get Trump’s star on Walk of Fame," 19 June 2019 Yet there are caveats, even when someone is playing so well in the minors. Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "Rockies Mailbag: Should GM Jeff Bridich consider trading homegrown talent for a starting pitcher?," 11 June 2019 However, not acknowledging the fact that there were caveats to those appearances, all four players have been on downward trajectories since that game. SI.com, "Keep Calm & Carry On: Why England Are on the Right Path Despite Nations League Loss," 7 June 2019 Parducci, who primarily studies ancient DNA trapped in lake beds, explains that there are many caveats when using eDNA. Quanta Magazine, "Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems," 29 May 2019 There are several important caveats to our analysis. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Watch how the climate could change in these US cities by 2050," 24 May 2019

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

12 Jul 2019

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

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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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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