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[kav-ern] /ˈkæv ərn/
a cave, especially one that is large and mostly underground.
Pathology. a cavity that is produced by disease, especially one produced in the lungs by tuberculosis.
verb (used with object)
to enclose in or as if in a cavern.
to hollow out to form a cavern.
Origin of cavern
1325-75; Middle English caverne < Latin caverna, equivalent to cav(us) hollow + -erna, as in cisterna cistern Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cavern
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Stricken with horror and shame, she is driven into the cavern.

  • He shut her into the cavern where the jars of the Magic Mead were hidden.

    The Children of Odin Padraic Colum
  • He saw plainly the figures about him, and he wondered vaguely at the light that came from the walls of the cavern.

  • They brought him to a cavern and they bound him to three sharp-pointed rocks.

    The Children of Odin Padraic Colum
  • Then we could hide in the cavern, and wait till the rest came back, and take them prisoners too.

    The Black Tor George Manville Fenn
  • In the course of an hour the cavern had resumed its former appearance of comfort.

    The Wild Man of the West R.M. Ballantyne
  • He therefore frequently left his cavern, went to the side of the road, and gobbled up a passer-by.

    The Usurper Judith Gautier
British Dictionary definitions for cavern


a cave, esp when large and formed by underground water, or a large chamber in a cave
verb (transitive)
to shut in or as if in a cavern
to hollow out
Word Origin
C14: from Old French caverne, from Latin caverna, from cavus hollow; see cave1
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 cavern

late 14c., from Old French caverne (12c.) "cave, vault, cellar," from Late Latin caverna "cave," from Latin cavus "hollow" (see cave (n.)). In Old English such a land feature might be called an eorðscræf.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cavern in Science
A large cave.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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