excavate

verb
ex·ca·vate | \ ˈek-skə-ˌvāt \
excavated; excavating

Definition of excavate 

transitive verb

1 : to form a cavity or hole in

2 : to form by hollowing out

3 : to dig out and remove

4 : to expose to view by or as if by digging away a covering excavate the remains of a temple

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for excavate

Synonyms

dig, shovel

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of excavate in a Sentence

They excavated an ancient city. It is the first site to be excavated in this area. They began excavating the backyard for their new pool. The excess dirt was carefully excavated.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Beneath a hill not far away from the amusements, Tencent, an internet giant, has finished excavating a bomb-proof cavern with five massive entrances. The Economist, "One of China’s poorest provinces wants to be a tech hub," 31 May 2018 The city does occasionally remove objects from the beach that could pose a hazard, but excavating a large ship that is submerged in seawater more often than not would prove incredibly difficult. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Unusual Weather Reveals Wreck of Prohibition-Era Booze Cruise," 2 Feb. 2016 Lieutenant Johnson said authorities excavated that site and brought cadaver dogs, but no significant evidence was found. Malik Johnson, NBC News, "Parents of Lelia Faulkner still searching for daughter two years after her disappearance.," 8 July 2018 The delicate process began; the team began to excavate and struck gold. Alice B-b, A-LIST, "No Place Like Rome," 4 July 2018 The area will be excavated and bones and other remains will be analyzed and tested — a process that could take months, police Chief Michael Geier said. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Discovery near mass gravesite leads to fears of more victims in unsolved serial killings," 4 July 2018 The area will be excavated and bones and other remains will be analyzed and tested — a process that could take months, police Chief Michael Geier said. Russell Contreras, Fox News, "Bones unearthed near New Mexico site where bodies were found," 3 July 2018 The coal vaults needed to be waterproofed, and the floor in the main part of the apartment had to be excavated to create higher ceilings in the dining and living rooms. Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, "How to Live Luxe—and With Light—in a Basement Home," 13 June 2018 None of the defendants were charged criminally in connection with the disposal of Donald Webb’s remains, which were excavated on July 13, 2017. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "State officials smash multimillion-dollar gaming ring; gangster’s stepson was kingpin, prosecutors say," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'excavate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of excavate

1599, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for excavate

borrowed from Latin excavātus, past participle of excavāre "to hollow out, form a hole in," from ex- ex- entry 1 + cavāre "to make hollow, hollow out," verbal derivative of cavus "hollow, concave" — more at hole entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about excavate

Statistics for excavate

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for excavate

The first known use of excavate was in 1599

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for excavate

excavate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of excavate

: to uncover (something) by digging away and removing the earth that covers it

: to dig a large hole in (something)

: to form (a hole, tunnel, etc.) by digging

excavate

verb
ex·ca·vate | \ ˈek-skə-ˌvāt \
excavated; excavating

Kids Definition of excavate

1 : to expose to view by digging away a covering They've excavated an ancient city.

2 : to hollow out : form a hole in Workers excavated the side of a hill.

3 : to make by hollowing out We must excavate a tunnel.

4 : to dig out and remove Miners excavate diamonds.

excavate

verb
ex·ca·vate | \ ˈek-skə-ˌvāt \
excavated; excavating

Medical Definition of excavate 

transitive verb

: to form a cavity or hole in an excavated wisdom tooth

intransitive verb

: to make excavations or become hollowed out an area of infarction in soft tissue often tends to excavate

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on excavate

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

WORD OF THE DAY

characteristic trappings or dress

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!