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

The offers come with a caveat: Schools that want his money have to accept his ideas about building design, too. ... Jason Zweig, WSJ, "Buffett Partner Charlie Munger Has a Side Gig: Designing College Dorms," 2 May 2019 Tesla is also offering a Model 3 lease in the U.S. for the first time, though with a big caveat. Dana Hull, The Seattle Times, "Tesla just made it harder to buy its cheapest $35,000 electric car," 12 Apr. 2019 But this hypothetical scenario comes with a major caveat. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "One of Bitcoin’s Biggest Asset Managers Says Zcash Could Hit $60,000 in 2025," 31 Jan. 2018 But amidst the caveats and the tensions, companies sense that there is serious money to be made. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Self-Driving Light Trucks Will Be Allowed on California Roads," 13 Apr. 2019 One caveat: Most vaporizers use either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin (PG or VG). Laurel Leicht, Marie Claire, "An Expert Answers All Your Questions About CBD," 26 Mar. 2019 The only caveat: One publication mistakenly used a photo of Kate Middleton instead of Kate Beckinsale for its story. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Beckinsale Laughs Off Kate Middleton Mixup with the Most Perfect Reaction," 31 Jan. 2019 Two caveats: Sometimes a better-for-you food has the same number of calories as its not-so-great cousin. Joy Bauer, Woman's Day, "How to Stay Full on Fewer Calories," 16 Aug. 2018 Incineroar's up-close combat prowess comes with a caveat of odd air maneuverability, in that its up-B recovery move will actually dive downward. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Smash Bros. Ultimate review: The best fighting game on any Nintendo system," 6 Dec. 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

17 May 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

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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