cav·ern | \ˈka-vərn also -vrən \

Definition of cavern 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: cave especially : one of large or indefinite extent


caverned; caverning; caverns

Definition of cavern (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to place in or as if in a cavern

2 : to form a cavern of : hollow used with out

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Synonyms for cavern

Synonyms: Noun

cave, grot, grotto

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Examples of cavern in a Sentence


a cavern with beautiful stalactites

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Geologists placed tracer dyes in the underground rivers and learned the cavern aquifer extends 4 miles east to White Oak Sinks, in the isolated valley of Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park near the North Carolina line. John Bordsen, USA TODAY, "North Korean nukes tracked from Tennessee tourist caverns," 13 Apr. 2018 After they were located deep in the cavern, Decker reached out to one of the officials leading rescue efforts and got authorization to dispatch his team. Dan Murtaugh, The Seattle Times, "U.S. firm helps Thais to pump water from cave to save boys," 9 July 2018 Late Friday, Thai officials were still trying to come up with a workable extraction plan for the group trapped for nearly two weeks deep inside the cavern, stoking fears that all available options remain too risky. Shibani Mahtani,, "Cave rescue stalls as death of Thai diver underscores perils," 7 July 2018 Authorities hope that the missing team made it to the spacious cavern, where ground is high and likely to be above water. Time, "A Youth Soccer Team Has Been Trapped in a Thai Cave for More Than a Week. Here's Why It's Taking So Long to Find Them," 2 July 2018 Then, on Tuesday, shortly after the group inside the deepest cavern had been pulled to safety, a piece of equipment that drained water to levels that made the escape manageable broke. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "The Thai Cave Rescue, Before Its Triumph, Teetered on the Brink of Disaster," 11 July 2018 Meanwhile, oxygen is starting to run low in the remote cavern where the children have taken refuge. Richard C. Paddock,, "Thai cave rescue will be a murky, desperate ordeal, divers say," 6 July 2018 Drilling teams dug more than 100 pilot holes but were unable to locate the cavern. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "The Thai Cave Rescue, Before Its Triumph, Teetered on the Brink of Disaster," 11 July 2018 The Thai navy SEALs — along with the international team of divers who traveled to Mae Sai, the town nearest the cavern, to help — have quickly become immortalized as modern-day superheroes in various pieces of artwork. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, "‘Hooyah, Hooyah, Hooyah’: Jubilation at Thai cave rescue spreads across the world," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In the hunt, scientists have erected detectors in a South Dakota cavern a mile underground, at the bottom of Lake Baikal in Siberia, under a mountain in Japan, and on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea. Robert Lee Hotz, WSJ, "Scientists Track Neutrinos Through Ice to Their Source in the Cosmos," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cavern.' 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 cavern


14th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cavern


Middle English caverne, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin caverna "hollow space, crevice, tree hole, cave," from cavus "hollow, sunken" + -erna, noun-forming suffix of uncertain origin — more at hole entry 1


derivative of cavern entry 1

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Statistics for cavern

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cavern

The first known use of cavern was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for cavern



English Language Learners Definition of cavern

: a large cave


cav·ern | \ˈka-vərn \

Kids Definition of cavern

: a cave often of large or unknown size


cav·ern | \ˈkav-ərn \

Medical Definition of cavern 

: a cavity (as in the lung) caused by disease

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Comments on cavern

What made you want to look up cavern? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a generally accepted meaning of a word

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