cavort

verb ca·vort \ kə-ˈvȯrt \
|Updated on: 17 Jun 2018

Definition of cavort

cavorted; cavorting; cavorts
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

  1. Otters cavorted in the stream.

  2. children cavorting on the first sunny day of spring

Recent Examples of cavort from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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 1curvet; that it is comprised of the unstressed expressive prefix ca- (as in caboodle) and 3vault; 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.

cavort Synonyms

Near Antonyms

mope, pout, stew, sulk;

Phrases

cut capers, kick up one's heels;


CAVORT Defined for English Language Learners

cavort

Definition of cavort for English Language Learners

  • : to jump or move around in a lively manner

  • : to spend time in an enjoyable and often wild or improper way


CAVORT Defined for Kids

cavort

verb ca·vort \ kə-ˈvort \

Definition of cavort for Students

cavorted; cavorting
: 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


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

soothing, mild, or foolish

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name More Food!

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!