[ eks-kuh-veyt ]
See synonyms for: excavateexcavated on Thesaurus.com

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.

  1. to dig or scoop out (earth, sand, etc.).

  2. 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

Other words from excavate

  • re·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. 2024

How to use excavate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for excavate


/ (ˈɛkskəˌveɪt) /

  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 part: to excavate a tooth

  1. to unearth (buried objects) methodically in an attempt to discover information about the past

Origin of excavate

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

Derived forms of excavate

  • excavation, noun

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