cav·​ern | \ ˈka-vərn How to pronounce cavern (audio) 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

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Examples of cavern in a Sentence

Noun a cavern with beautiful stalactites
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Louisville Underground lost about 90,000 square feet of its approximately 96-acre cavern as a result of the sinkhole, according to the lawsuit. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Mega Cavern files lawsuit against Louisville Zoo over massive sinkhole," 7 Mar. 2020 Spend a day black-water tubing through caverns lit by thousands of tiny glowworms, traveling to the cave entrance via zip line and finishing the adventure on a series of natural rock slides. National Geographic, "New Zealand Expedition: South Island Winter Adventure," 20 Sep. 2019 The caverns weren’t discovered until 1974, and have been exceptionally well preserved since then. Nicole Clausing, Sunset, "Spelunking the West: 10 Great Scenic Caves to Explore," 22 Jan. 2018 Hercules was said to have slept in the caverns, known as the Les Grottes d’Hercule, after separating Europe from Africa in Greek mythology. Michelle Stansbury, Marie Claire, "The Instagram Guide to Tangier, Morocco," 20 Mar. 2020 From sand dune surfing to swimming in waterfalls to touring historic caverns, these 16 state parks boast unique, natural amenities that are worth exploring. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "16 magical state parks every Texan should visit at least once," 20 Feb. 2020 Anywhere there is a cave, cavern, or underground bunker. Francesca Babb, Condé Nast Traveler, "Paul Theroux's Earliest Travel Memory Is a Train Ride Through New England," 23 Dec. 2019 Cut to the Mandalorian, being ambushed in a cavern and skillfully fighting off his attacker. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Disney leans hard into Space Western territory in new Mandalorian trailer," 29 Oct. 2019 Along with the search efforts inside the cave, rescuers have searched on the mountainside for possible ways into the caverns below. Washington Post, "AP Explains: Getting soccer players out of Thai cave, safely," 3 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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Time Traveler for cavern

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cavern

Last Updated

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cavern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for cavern


How to pronounce cavern (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cavern

: a large cave


cav·​ern | \ ˈka-vərn How to pronounce cavern (audio) \

Kids Definition of cavern

: a cave often of large or unknown size


cav·​ern | \ ˈkav-ərn How to pronounce cavern (audio) \

Medical Definition of cavern

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

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Comments on cavern

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