excavate

verb

ex·​ca·​vate ˈek-skə-ˌvāt How to pronounce excavate (audio)
excavated; excavating

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

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Wealthy widowed landowner hires an eccentric archaeologist to investigate and excavate the mysterious mounds on her property...only to find an amazing discovery straight from the Dark Ages. Leah Hall, Country Living, 24 Oct. 2022 By Thursday evening, authorities were working to excavate the vehicle — and had not yet found human remains. Joel Umanzor, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 Oct. 2022 The Rams rely on their scouts to excavate late-round picks and their staff to develop them. New York Times, 13 Feb. 2022 Teams are working to excavate a vehicle that was found buried Thursday in the yard of a home in Atherton, California. Phil Helsel, NBC News, 21 Oct. 2022 Berman is at her best as an archeologist of ideas, digging through archives to excavate the origins of the economic style of reasoning and its takeover of federal policymaking. Idrees Kahloon, The New Yorker, 16 May 2022 These entrances are typically an inch in depth, then make a turn at a 90-degree angle to excavate a gallery. Cole Sikes Alabama Cooperative Extension System, al, 16 May 2022 For them, the amount of hard work needed to excavate the shaft was not worth it. CNN, 24 Feb. 2022 His hope is a professional team can properly excavate, restore, and protect the mosaic. Fares Akram, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1599, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of excavate was in 1599

Dictionary Entries Near excavate

Cite this Entry

“Excavate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excavate. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

excavate

verb

ex·​ca·​vate ˈek-skə-ˌvāt How to pronounce excavate (audio)
excavated; excavating
1
: to hollow out : form a hole in
excavate the side of a hill
2
: to make by hollowing out
excavate a tunnel
3
: to dig out and remove
excavate sand
4
: to uncover by digging away covering earth
excavate an ancient city
excavator
-ˌvāt-ər
noun

Medical Definition

excavate

verb

ex·​ca·​vate ˈek-skə-ˌvāt How to pronounce excavate (audio)
excavated; excavating

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

More from Merriam-Webster on excavate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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