[ 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.


Nearby words

  1. cavendish experiment,
  2. cavendish, henry,
  3. cavendish, william,
  4. caveola,
  5. caver,
  6. caverna,
  7. cavernicolous,
  8. caverniloquy,
  9. cavernitis,
  10. cavernostomy

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cavern

British Dictionary definitions for cavern


/ (ˈkævən) /


a cave, esp when large and formed by underground water, or a large chamber in a cave

verb (tr)

to shut in or as if in a cavern
to hollow out

Word Origin for cavern

C14: from Old French caverne, from Latin caverna, from cavus hollow; see cave 1

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 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

Science definitions for cavern


[ kăvərn ]

A large cave.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.