spelunk

[spi-luhngk]

Origin of spelunk

back formation from spelunker, spelunking

spelunker

[spi-luhng-ker]
noun
  1. a person who explores caves, especially as a hobby.

Origin of spelunker

1940–45; < Latin spēlunc(a) cave (≪ Greek spêlynx, stem spēlyng-, akin to spḗlaion; cf. spelaean) + -er1
Related formsspe·lunk·ing, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for spelunking

spelunker

noun
  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 spelunking

spelunker

n.

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

spelunk

n.

"cave, cavern," c.1300, from Old French spelonque or directly from Latin spelunca "a cave, cavern, grotto," from Greek spelynx (genitive spelyngos). An adjective, speluncar "of a cave" is recorded from 1855.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper