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

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

antre, cave, delve [archaic], grot, grotto

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Examples of cavern in a Sentence


a cavern with beautiful stalactites

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These inch-long, electric blue fish have been stranded in a submerged limestone cavern in the Nevadan desert since the last Ice Age. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, "Brutal beetles kept world’s rarest fish from breeding—until now," 1 Mar. 2019 Note that part of the caverns don’t comply with accessibility regulations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Jay Jones,, "Nevada's Great Basin National Park unfurls rugged vistas in the daytime, expansive sky at night," 31 May 2018 PAW Patrol Live — Based off of the popular animated series of the same name, in this live-action production PAW Patrol discovers a secret treasure map and rescues Cap’n Turbot from a mysterious cavern. Anchorage Daily News, "Say aloha to some ono food and reggae this week," 13 June 2019 Carved by monks on pilgrimage, these caverns are home to some of the most important Buddhist art and manuscripts in the world. National Geographic, "China High School Expedition," 12 June 2019 The boys and their coach, members of the Moo Paa (Wild Boar) Academy football club, are believed to be trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, a 6-8 km (4-5 mi) long cavern that is comprised of large chambers connected by narrower passageways. Eli Meixler, Time, "Thai Divers Continue the Search For 12 Boys and Their Coach Trapped in a Flooded Cave. Here’s What to Know," 26 June 2018 Four other boys and their 25-year-old coach await their turn to be guided on Tuesday through the winding passages and caverns of the Tham Luang cave, where they have been trapped since June 23. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Divers Rescue Four More Boys From Thai Cave, Bringing Total to Eight," 9 July 2018 In Thwaites’ case, that radar uncovered a gigantic cavern between the glacier itself and the bedrock below it. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Found a Giant Underground Cavern in Antarctica Almost the Size of Manhattan," 31 Jan. 2019 Kelly Macdonald as Agnes, who discovers she’s a puzzle prodigy Photo: Sony Pictures Classics He has been written sketchily, an inventor of great wealth who lives alone in a beautiful cavern of a Manhattan apartment. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Puzzle’ Review: Less Than the Sum of Its Pieces," 25 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

17 Jul 2019

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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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on cavern

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cavern

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cavern

Spanish Central: Translation of cavern

Nglish: Translation of cavern for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cavern for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cavern

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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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