ca·​vort | \ kə-ˈvȯrt How to pronounce cavort (audio) \
cavorted; cavorting; cavorts

Definition of cavort

intransitive verb

1 : to leap or dance about in a lively manner Otters cavorted in the stream.
2 : to engage in extravagant behavior The governor has been criticized for cavorting with celebrities.

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Examples of cavort in a Sentence

Otters cavorted in the stream. children cavorting on the first sunny day of spring

Recent Examples on the Web

Woman to woman, as canines cavorted on the beach, overheard at Crissy Field by Nancy Golden Leah Garchik is open for business in San Francisco, 415-777-8426. Leah Garchik,, "The pain of loving an easy-to-love opera: Get over it," 9 June 2019 For context, that third one also just moved to Amsterdam after the couple spent nine months cavorting through Southeast Asia together. Andrea Bartz, Redbook, "Why I Stopped Waiting for a Partner & Started Traveling the World," 10 Aug. 2017 National magazines, encouraged by the media-savvy Mr. Wolkowsky, sent photographers to capture celebrities cavorting around Key West, updating its faded image as a refuge for Ernest Hemingway. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "David Wolkowsky Rehabbed Key West, Fla., and Helped Keep It Weird," 12 Oct. 2018 Agalarov has made a video in which a Trump impersonator cavorts on a bed with ersatz Miss Universe floozies, a clear allusion to the most salacious allegations in the Steele dossier. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “Fake, Fake Disgusting News”," 5 Aug. 2018 Managers of the social networking site VKontakte, Russia’s answer to Facebook, issued warnings after several communities were created to publicly shame women for cavorting with foreign soccer fans. Amie Ferris-rotman, Washington Post, "At World Cup, Russians embrace the world, one relationship at a time," 9 July 2018 Bluebirds will cavort in the meadow next to Doane Pond, while families will sit at water’s edge, perhaps tending a fishing rod with hopes of catching trout for dinner. Ernie Cowan,, "Visit the High Sierra with a trip to Palomar Mountain," 11 May 2018 In 2016, Gamble, Lyakh, and another man were spotted cavorting on Grand Prismatic Hot Spring in Yellowstone, damaging its sensitive microorganism mats and risking their lives in the process. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "Doing It for the ‘Gram Turns Deadly," 9 July 2018 The Parrs also cavort amid a very distinctive visual milieu. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Incredibles 2 Addresses the State of the Union," 19 June 2018

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

1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cavort

earlier also cauvaut, cavault, covault, of obscure origin

Note: All early attestations of the word are North American, the first known (as cauvauted) in a letter written by the North Carolina politician John Steele in April, 1794. Various etymologies have been suggested: that the word is altered from curvet entry 1; that it is comprised of the unstressed expressive prefix ca- (as in caboodle) and vault entry 3; that it has some relation with French chahuter "to dance the chahut (a boisterous, somewhat indecent dance), to make an uproar" (see Leo Spitzer, "Cavort," Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 48 (1949), pp. 132-37). Apparently the same word is cavaulting "coition" in John Camden Hotten's A Dictionary of Modern, Slang, Cant, and Vulgar Words (London, 1859). In the second edition of Hotten's dictionary (London, 1860) the word has the etymological note "Lingua Franca, cavolta," though there appears to be no evidence for such a word in Lingua Franca.

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Dictionary Entries near cavort

caviuna wood

cavolo nero






Statistics for cavort

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cavort

The first known use of cavort was in 1794

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More Definitions for cavort



English Language Learners Definition of cavort

: to jump or move around in a lively manner
: to spend time in an enjoyable and often wild or improper way


ca·​vort | \ kə-ˈvort How to pronounce cavort (audio) \
cavorted; cavorting

Kids Definition of cavort

: to move or hop about in a lively way … I saw the raccoons cavort around my fireplace …— Jean Craighead George, My Side of the Mountain

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More from Merriam-Webster on cavort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cavort

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cavort

Spanish Central: Translation of cavort

Nglish: Translation of cavort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cavort for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cavort

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characterized by aphorism

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