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90s Slang You Should Know


[kar-uh-van] /ˈkær əˌvæn/
a group of travelers, as merchants or pilgrims, journeying together for safety in passing through deserts, hostile territory, etc.
any group traveling in or as if in a caravan and using a specific mode of transportation, as pack animals or motor vehicles:
a caravan of trucks; a camel caravan.
a large covered vehicle for conveying passengers, goods, a sideshow, etc.; van.
Chiefly British. a house on wheels; trailer.
verb (used with object), caravaned or caravanned, caravaning or caravanning.
to carry in or as if in a caravan:
Trucks caravaned food and medical supplies to the flood's survivors.
verb (used without object), caravaned or caravanned, caravaning or caravanning.
to travel in or as if in a caravan:
They caravaned through Egypt.
Origin of caravan
1590-1600; earlier carovan < Italian carovana < Persian kārwān
Related forms
caravanist, noun
1. parade, procession, train, cavalcade, band. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for caravan
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • According to the usage of the country, the travellers returned immediately to the caravan which served as custom-house.

  • For a time, he had thought the caravan guard was going to be overwhelmed.

    Millennium Everett B. Cole
  • He was left, at his own request, on a little stream, while the caravan passed on some six miles further to camp.

    A History of Oregon, 1792-1849 William Henry Gray
  • And this second purse is a present, in memory of your gallant defense of the caravan.

    Millennium Everett B. Cole
  • This had grown a strange thought, so long had the caravan been to him a house of warmth and plenty.

    A Rough Shaking George MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for caravan


  1. a large enclosed vehicle capable of being pulled by a car or lorry and equipped to be lived in US and Canadian name trailer
  2. (as modifier): a caravan site
(esp in some parts of Asia and Africa) a company of traders or other travellers journeying together, often with a train of camels, through the desert
a group of wagons, pack mules, camels, etc, esp travelling in single file
a large covered vehicle, esp a gaily coloured one used by Romany Gypsies, circuses, etc
verb -vans, -vanning, -vanned
(intransitive) (Brit) to travel or have a holiday in a caravan
Derived Forms
caravanning, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Italian caravana, from Persian kārwān
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for caravan

1580s, from Middle French caravane, from Old French carvane, carevane "caravan" (13c.), or Medieval Latin caravana, picked up during the Crusades from Persian karwan "group of desert travelers" (which Klein connects to Sanskrit karabhah "camel"). Used in English for "vehicle" 17c., especially for a covered cart. Hence, in modern British use (from 1930s), often a rough equivalent of the U.S. mobile home.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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