spe·​lunk·​ing spi-ˈləŋ-kiŋ How to pronounce spelunking (audio)
: the hobby or practice of exploring caves

Examples of spelunking in a Sentence

Her hobbies include hiking, biking, and spelunking. They love to go spelunking.
Recent Examples on the Web The kids who grew up with the original cartoon about a young girl named Riley (then voiced by Kaitlyn Dias), whose ponytailed body is an exoskeleton for psychological spelunking, are now getting their mental health advice from influencers on TikTok. Amy Nicholson, Washington Post, 12 June 2024 The aloof downtown intellectual, named Luc by her Belgian parents, is a poetic essayist with a magpie mind and a talent for archive spelunking. Carl Swanson, Vulture, 9 Feb. 2024 Some of the caves, such as the 1,100-foot Dancehall, can be walked through upright, while others require serious spelunking. Anne Olivia Bauso, Travel + Leisure, 26 Apr. 2024 Scouting needs to be relevant for the children of today, but Krone said the opportunity to get outdoors — to have Scouts sail a boat or paddle a canoe, go hiking, mountain climbing, rappelling or spelunking — has universal appeal. Mark Thiessen, Fortune, 3 Nov. 2023 Like diving, spelunking, rock climbing, or cutting a watermelon, too much can go sideways. Mylène Dressler, Longreads, 11 Apr. 2023 Philosophical spelunking would be a new sensation. Nick Romeo, The New Yorker, 15 Mar. 2023 That led to other activities, including basketball, white-water rafting, spelunking, zip-lining and leading hiking groups. Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2023 National archives, especially Presidential archives, are like a weird form of historical spelunking. Amy Shira Teitel, Discover Magazine, 27 Apr. 2019

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

Word History

First Known Use

1944, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spelunking was in 1944

Dictionary Entries Near spelunking

Cite this Entry

“Spelunking.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spelunking. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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