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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cavern
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was soothing to his eyes, so used to the darkness of the Nibelungs' cavern.

  • In an instant they fled into the darkest corner of the cavern.

    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew Josephine Preston Peabody
  • The Sibyl placed them in rows on the ledges of rock inside the cavern.

    Classic Myths Mary Catherine Judd
  • Charley was a few yards ahead of me, and ran stooping into the cavern.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • All around the dais, seated on the sloping floor of the cavern, were Lakonians.

    Priestess of the Flame Sewell Peaslee Wright
  • As she recognised the sound, a voice came as through a cavern, crying, "Kate!"

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Through the entrance of the cavern they darted and disappeared.

    Loot of the Void Edwin K. Sloat
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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