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[keyv] /keɪv/
a hollow in the earth, especially one opening more or less horizontally into a hill, mountain, etc.
a storage cellar, especially for wine.
English History. a secession, or a group of seceders, from a political party on some special question.
verb (used with object), caved, caving.
to hollow out.
  1. to cause (overlying material) to fall into a stope, sublevel, or the like.
  2. to cause (supports, as stulls or sets) to collapse beneath overlying material.
  3. to fill (a stope or the like) with caved-in material:
    sub-level caving.
verb (used without object), caved, caving.
to cave in.
Verb phrases
cave in,
  1. to fall in; collapse.
  2. to cause to fall in or collapse.
  3. Informal. to yield; submit; surrender:
    The opposition caved in before our superior arguments.
Origin of cave
1175-1225; Middle English < Old French < Late Latin cava (feminine singular), Latin cava, neuter plural of cavum hole, noun use of neuter of cavus hollow
Related forms
cavelike, adjective

cave canem

[kah-we kah-nem; English key-vee key-nuh m, kah-vey] /ˈkɑ wɛ ˈkɑ nɛm; English ˈkeɪ vi ˈkeɪ nəm, ˈkɑ veɪ/
beware of the dog. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cave
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He is silent and abstracted, like one just returned from the cave of Trophonius.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • Quite often the cave gave way to the pressure of the surrounding rock.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • But he thrust his head into the cave, shivered, and congratulated himself.

    The Man of Adamant Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • She then returned to the mouth of the cave, and knelt down at Richard Digby's feet.

    The Man of Adamant Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Tse-tse talked to the girl, of all things, about the love-gift she had put in the cave for me.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
British Dictionary definitions for cave


an underground hollow with access from the ground surface or from the sea, often found in limestone areas and on rocky coastlines
(Brit, history) a secession or a group seceding from a political party on some issue See Adullamite
(modifier) living in caves
(transitive) to hollow out
See also cave in, caving
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Latin cava, plural of cavum cavity, from cavus hollow


guard or lookout (esp in the phrase keep cave)
sentence substitute
watch out!
Word Origin
from Latin cavē! beware!
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 cave

early 13c., from Old French cave "a cave, vault, cellar" (12c.), from Latin cavea "hollow" (place), noun use of neuter plural of adjective cavus "hollow," from PIE root *keue- "a swelling, arch, cavity" (see cumulus). Replaced Old English eorðscrafu. First record of cave man is 1865.


early 15c., caven, "to hollow something out," from cave (n.). Modern sense "to collapse in or down" is 1707, American English, presumably from East Anglian dialectal calve "collapse, fall in," perhaps from Flemish; subsequently influenced by cave (n.). Transitive sense by 1762. Related: Caved; caving. Figurative sense of "yield to pressure" is from 1837.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cave in Science
A naturally occurring underground hollow or passage, especially one with an opening to the surface of the Earth. Caves can form through a variety of processes, including the dissolution of limestone by flowing water, the differential cooling of volcanic magma (which occurs when the outside surface of the lava cools, but the inside continues to flow downwards, forming a hollow tube), or the action of wind and waves along a rocky coast.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for cave



A room; pad (1930s+)


(also cave in) To surrender; give way; chicken out: The Russians will cave when they find we are in earnest/ OK, so I caved in on the white suger, the TV, the war toys (entry form 1850s+, variant 1830+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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