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excavate

[eks-kuh-veyt]
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verb (used with object), ex·ca·vat·ed, ex·ca·vat·ing.
  1. to make hollow by removing the inner part; make a hole or cavity in; form into a hollow, as by digging: The ground was excavated for a foundation.
  2. to make (a hole, tunnel, etc.) by removing material.
  3. to dig or scoop out (earth, sand, etc.).
  4. to expose or lay bare by or as if by digging; unearth: to excavate an ancient city.

Origin of excavate

1590–1600; < Latin excavātus (past participle of excavāre to hollow out), equivalent to ex- ex-1 + cav(um) hollow, cave + -ātus -ate1
Related formsre·ex·ca·vate, verb (used with object), re·ex·ca·vat·ed, re·ex·ca·vat·ing.un·ex·ca·vat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for excavate

excavate

verb
  1. to remove (soil, earth, etc) by digging; dig out
  2. to make (a hole, cavity, or tunnel) in (solid matter) by hollowing or removing the centre or inner partto excavate a tooth
  3. to unearth (buried objects) methodically in an attempt to discover information about the past
Derived Formsexcavation, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin excavāre, from cavāre to make hollow, from cavus hollow
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

Word Origin and History for excavate

v.

1590s, from Latin excavatus, past participle of excavare "to hollow out," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + cavare "to hollow, hollow out," from cavus "cave" (see cave (n.)). Related: Excavated; excavating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper