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

Some, like the Devil’s Hole pupfish, are found only in a single geothermal pool in a limestone cavern. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "See a different endangered animal in every U.S. state," 30 July 2019 Inside the ship, in a gymnasium-size cavern, four men unloaded each netful into the hold and muscled the cargo into place, one box, one mattress at a time. Rowan Moore Gerety, Harper's magazine, "Downstream," 10 June 2019 Take a 2 ½-hour zipline tour in the world’s only fully underground zipline course, hang out on the aerial ropes challenge or take a 1.5-hour electric bike tour of the cavern. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "Want to impress your out-of-town guests? Here's where to take them in Louisville," 4 Apr. 2019 Set foot inside the amazing cave dwellings known as troglodyte homes—charming houses built in and around cliff-side caverns. National Geographic, "France Family Journey: From Paris to Normandy and Beyond," 17 June 2019 Guests will proceed past the laser turret and into a cavern lined with horizontal ridges, the result of being carved by lasers. Scott Craven, azcentral, "When will the Rise of the Resistance ride open at Disney's new Star Wars land?," 17 June 2019 More adventures lie just beyond the castle grounds: Hunt for the winding staircase and walk 115 steps down to Mermaid’s Cave, a massive cavern directly beneath the castle. Todd Plummer, Town & Country, "5 Amazing Locations in Ireland," 21 May 2019 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

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

14 Aug 2019

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 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).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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