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.

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 Soon conversation turned to a club in Japan where women are said to cavort with octopuses. New York Times, 15 Apr. 2022 Of the several hundred attendees celebrating the freedom to cavort without masks or social distancing, at least 72 came down with COVID over the following few days. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 2022 The license to cavort and disregard the strictures of Lent is Ireland's version of Carnival. CNN, 17 Mar. 2022 Gray whales spend winters in the shallow lagoons of Baja California, Mexico, where females nurse their calves and others cavort and mate. Los Angeles Times, 5 Aug. 2021 Fairies dance in the shadow of a New Hampshire forest, and peasant children cavort amid the greenery of Brookline’s Larz Anderson Park., 19 May 2021 The dream there is to create another Marvel-like universe of characters who could cavort across different platforms. Maureen Dowd, New York Times, 10 Oct. 2020 In the QAnon imagination, Democrats and celebrities commingle in orgies of bloodlust, while demons of the figurative and literal variety cavort their way to supreme intoxication. Talia Lavin, The New Republic, 29 Sep. 2020 Not one folding chair, bar-b-que pit or beer cooler was to be seen beneath the highway ramps, where clusters of black and gold-clad revelers usually cavort on game days. Doug Maccash | Staff Writer,, 13 Sep. 2020 See More

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.

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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Cite this Entry

“Cavort.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for cavort


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

More from Merriam-Webster on cavort

Nglish: Translation of cavort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cavort for Arabic Speakers


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