ex·​ca·​va·​tor ˈek-skə-ˌvā-tər How to pronounce excavator (audio)
: one that excavates
especially : a power-operated shovel

Example Sentences

The excavators found ancient tools at the site.
Recent Examples on the Web These diggers, or excavators, are often seen as a useful proxy for economic activity: more diggers sold means more construction projects and, by extension, more economic momentum. Mary Hui, Quartz, 10 May 2023 On Tuesday, University President David Wilson, school officials and residents watched as an excavator destroyed the barrier. Char Adams, NBC News, 12 Apr. 2023 The equipment involved in the collision was a Caterpillar 420F backhoe with an excavator arm, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Mar. 2023 Fire and Police personnel still on scene awaiting the arrival of an excavator to raze the home so the FD can extinguish the smouldering fire. Kate Armanini, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Feb. 2023 After assessing the situation, Newey rolled the excavator onto the riverbank, removed several boulders in his way and graded the soil flat to get purchase. Los Angeles Times, 14 Jan. 2023 The answer may come this week when a crane, an excavator and a chainsaw crew begin clearing away the undermined eucalyptus trees. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Sep. 2021 Prince Louis also gave it a shot, but mostly had a grand old time driving an excavator with his dad and hilariously devouring roasted marshmallows. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 9 May 2023 Trenches, a few foundations and an excavator pawing at a mountain of dirt are the only indication that, if all goes to plan, this will be the site of 90 new townhomes next year. Ben Christopher, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'excavator.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


excavate + -or entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1815, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of excavator was circa 1815

Dictionary Entries Near excavator

Cite this Entry

“Excavator.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excavator. Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


ex·​ca·​va·​tor ˈek-skə-ˌvāt-ər How to pronounce excavator (audio)
: an instrument used to open bodily cavities (as in the teeth) or remove material from them
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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