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 Will the occasional drudgery of the season prove too strong for a young, athletic and seemingly invincible man to blow off some steam at Top Golf, let alone cavort in a crowded nightclub? Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Will MLB be able to complete abbreviated 60-game season as coronavirus cases rise?," 28 June 2020 Like others, Kimmel slammed young people on spring break in Florida, cavorting on the beach and ignoring social distancing guidelines. oregonlive, "More late-night TV hosts post online, and Jimmy Kimmel blasts Trump’s coronavirus comments: ‘Just shut up, already’," 21 Mar. 2020 The duped ruler in this production isn’t going to cavort in tighty whities (or less). Laurel Graeber, New York Times, "8 Things to Do With Your Kids in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 5 Mar. 2020 On Sunday, the Masked One took the opportunity to cavort with Mobile’s mermaids: Neptune’s Daughters. al, "Masked Observer: Neptune’s Daughters shake, shimmy and salute," 24 Feb. 2020 The jhol momo are lined up like swimmers in a Busby Berkeley number, cavorting waist-deep in a pool of golden vegetable broth. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "3 new restaurants to try in metro Phoenix for dumplings, pizza and French-inspired cuisine," 7 Feb. 2020 Almost three-dimensional in its vivaciousness, the image bursts off the screen thanks to the four cavorting seals, immortalized by Lecoeur during an expedition to Antarctica. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Dazzling Display of Seals Wins Underwater Photographer of the Year Award," 25 Feb. 2020 The jhol momo are lined up like swimmers in a Busby Berkeley number, cavorting waist-deep in a pool of golden vegetable broth. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "3 new restaurants to try in metro Phoenix for dumplings, pizza and French-inspired cuisine," 7 Feb. 2020 As occurs in real barnyards, the rats were never seen outside of their enclosed nests during daylight hours, though video recordings showed them cavorting around the room, bathing in the water pool and harassing the ducks in the dark. Alan Rudolph, The Conversation, "Re-creating live-animal markets in the lab lets researchers see how pathogens like coronavirus jump species," 6 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for cavort

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The first known use of cavort was in 1794

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Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cavort.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for cavort


How to pronounce cavort (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cavort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cavort

Spanish Central: Translation of cavort

Nglish: Translation of cavort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cavort for Arabic Speakers

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