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

Those traveling with children shouldn’t miss the Aquarium Cap Blanc, located in an underground cavern that originally exported lobsters to Barcelona and other regional cities. National Geographic, "Ibiza beyond the clubs: 10 can’t-miss experiences," 16 Aug. 2019 Moon Baby, who has a royal presence and lives in a cavern there, receives it, flies down to Earth and wakes the dollhouse with his lunar glow. Robert Lloyd,, "Review: 'Moon and Me,' from a mind behind 'Teletubbies,' has a dreamy charm," 6 June 2019 My body was hollow, the emptiness lit by spark, my heart echoing in a great cavern. Chris Rush, Harper's magazine, "Love and Acid," 19 Aug. 2019 Two years later, the first wooden staircase was built to allow visitors to access the caverns. Jackie Mansky, Smithsonian, "3-D Map to Digitize Part of Carlsbad Caverns Down to the Millimeter," 19 Aug. 2019 The Chicago band Harm’s Way play hardcore/metal that growls and bashes, toggling between blasts of rapid sixteenth-note riffs and split-second yawning caverns in the music. John Adamian,, "Harm’s Way - death metal, industrial and scrambled beats - playing Webster Underground," 11 Aug. 2019 Two companies want to tap it for compressed air energy storage, an old but little-used method — essentially using the cavern as a giant battery. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Our line of biodefense," 9 Aug. 2019 There’s nothing new about building and operating liquids storage caverns. Keith Schneider, ProPublica, "West Virginia Bets Big on Plastics, and on Backing of Trump Administration," 31 July 2019 Heck, one of the official buildplates comes with a massive underground cavern, but there's no way to reach it. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Minecraft Earth’s closed beta: This augmented reality needs more augmenting," 16 July 2019

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

11 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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