1. a hollow in the earth, especially one opening more or less horizontally into a hill, mountain, etc.
  2. a storage cellar, especially for wine.
  3. English History. a secession, or a group of seceders, from a political party on some special question.
verb (used with object), caved, cav·ing.
  1. to hollow out.
  2. Mining.
    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, cav·ing.
  1. to cave in.
Verb Phrases
  1. cave in,
    1. to fall in; collapse.
    2. to cause to fall in or collapse.
    3. 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 formscave·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cavelike

Contemporary Examples of cavelike

Historical Examples of cavelike

  • He opened a door at the back of the room and led them out into a cavelike place.

    Joan of the Journal

    Helen Diehl Olds

  • It could not be much at best, for there was no furniture in the cavelike cell.

  • Peering down the cavelike orifice that now confronted me I beheld two spectral white columns, and recognized them as my own legs.

    Europe Revised

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • Once the whole party became lost in the maze of cavelike tombs far underground.

  • "If it's even moderately well done it is interesting," and the two brothers disappeared into the cavelike apertures before them.

    An American Suffragette

    Isaac N. Stevens

British Dictionary definitions for cavelike


  1. an underground hollow with access from the ground surface or from the sea, often found in limestone areas and on rocky coastlines
  2. British history a secession or a group seceding from a political party on some issueSee Adullamite
  3. (modifier) living in caves
  1. (tr) to hollow out
See also cave in, caving

Word Origin for cave

C13: from Old French, from Latin cava, plural of cavum cavity, from cavus hollow


  1. guard or lookout (esp in the phrase keep cave)
sentence substitute
  1. watch out!

Word Origin for cave

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

Word Origin and History for cavelike



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

cavelike in Science


  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.