excavate

verb
ex·​ca·​vate | \ ˈek-skə-ˌvāt How to pronounce excavate (audio) \
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

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Synonyms for excavate

Synonyms

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web One aspect of the agreement was a promise not to excavate the Tomb of Daniel, which locals feared would incur divine wrath. Rue Des Archives/album, History Magazine, "This French archaeologist broke the law—by wearing pants," 17 Dec. 2020 Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes and Lily James star in the story of a wealthy widow who hires an archaeologist to excavate burial mounds on her estate, uncovering history-changing treasure. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "Everything new on Netflix in January: 'Cobra Kai' premieres Season 3, David Spade hosts 'Afterparty'," 17 Dec. 2020 The Army Corps of Engineers rejected environmental permits for the massive Pebble Mine in Alaska, a likely death blow for plans to excavate hundreds of billions of dollars worth of gold and copper in a pristine wilderness. Timothy Puko, WSJ, "Army Corps Rejects Huge Alaskan Mine Project," 26 Nov. 2020 As Naomi Rea reports for artnet News, the British Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Benin Bronzes, will help archaeologists excavate the site as part of a $4 million project slated to start next year. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, "A New Museum of West African Art Will Incorporate the Ruins of Benin City," 17 Nov. 2020 Gabriele Gattiglia and Francesca Anichini, archaeologists at the University of Pisa in Italy, excavate Roman Empire-era sites, which entails analyzing thousands of broken bits of pottery. Zach Zorich, Star Tribune, "AI offers archaeologists a new tool," 3 Dec. 2020 Archeologists could just look at the grave shaft, or excavate the shaft and determine that there are, indeed, still remains there. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "The Quest to Unearth One of America’s Oldest Black Churches," 26 Nov. 2020 Things got off to a rocky start this year when Aggregate Industries purchased the township's Town Hall, adjacent to an area the mining company plans to excavate. Matt Mckinney, Star Tribune, "Grey Cloud Island residents dig in against expansion of gravel mine," 24 Nov. 2020 The Gjellestad ship offers archaeologists their first chance to excavate and study a Scandinavian ship in over a century. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "This farmer’s field was once a powerful stronghold in Iron Age Norway," 14 Nov. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for excavate

Time Traveler

The first known use of excavate was in 1599

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Statistics for excavate

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Excavate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excavate. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for excavate

excavate

verb
How to pronounce excavate (audio)

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 How to pronounce excavate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce excavate (audio) \
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

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Comments on excavate

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