ca·vort | \kə-ˈvȯrt \
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

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 Cunanan wanted to travel in the highest echelons of society, clinking glasses with socialites and cavorting on yachts. Rachel Syme, New Republic, "FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” examines a lethal delusion.," 16 Feb. 2018 On top, three rabbits cavort like Matisse’s Dancers; below a solitary rabbit poses like Rodin’s Thinker. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "Three Artists, Three Arcs, One Gallery," 31 May 2018 On December 14, as that spectacle of Pai cavorting with the far right was zipping around the world, the FCC commissioners met to consider the fate of net neutrality. Andrew Rice, WIRED, "This Is Ajit Pai, Nemesis of Net Neutrality," 16 May 2018 With folk music blasting from the stereos of parked cars, groups of protesters would break off from the crowds to link arms and cavort in concentric circles. Amie Ferris-rotman, Washington Post, "Did Armenia just dance its way to revolution?," 3 May 2018 Elsewhere, Comey describes Trump as lapsing into paranoia about the Steele dossier, especially one of its more colorful (and unproven) allegations: that Trump had once cavorted with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room. NBC News, "Comey, in new book, paints Trump as a liar divorced from reality," 13 Apr. 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

9 Sep 2018

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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 \
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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Comments on cavort

What made you want to look up cavort? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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