• synonyms


[kav-i-tey-shuh n]
See more synonyms for cavitation on Thesaurus.com
  1. the rapid formation and collapse of vapor pockets in a flowing liquid in regions of very low pressure, a frequent cause of structural damage to propellers, pumps, etc.
  2. such a pocket formed in a flowing liquid.
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Origin of cavitation

First recorded in 1890–95; cavit(y) + -ation
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cavitation

Historical Examples

  • Cavitation, Propeller—The tendency to produce a cavity in the air.

    The Aeroplane Speaks

    H. Barber

  • In marine engineering in slow-speed propellers (where cavitation does not come in) narrow blades are usually used.

British Dictionary definitions for cavitation


  1. the formation of vapour- or gas-filled cavities in a flowing liquid when tensile stress is superimposed on the ambient pressure
  2. the formation of cavities in a structure
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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 cavitation


"formation of bubbles in fluid," 1895, from cavity + -ation. Earlier as a medical term (1868).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cavitation in Medicine


  1. The formation of cavities in a body tissue or an organ, especially those cavities that form in the lung as a result of tuberculosis.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

cavitation in Science


  1. The formation of bubblelike gaps in a liquid. Mechanical forces, such as the moving blades of a ship's propeller or sudden negative changes in pressure, can cause cavitation.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.