Origin of spelunker

1940–45; < Latin spēlunc(a) cave (≪ Greek spêlynx, stem spēlyng-, akin to spḗlaion; cf. spelaean) + -er1
Related formsspe·lunk·ing, noun
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British Dictionary definitions for spelunker


  1. a person whose hobby is the exploration and study of caves
Derived Formsspelunking, noun

Word Origin for spelunker

C20: from Latin spēlunca, from Greek spēlunx a cave
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 spelunker

"a cave bug; one who explores caves as a hobby," 1942, agent noun formed from obsolete spelunk "cave, cavern."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper