• synonyms


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.
  3. to dig or scoop out (earth, sand, etc.).
  4. to expose or lay bare by or as if by digging; unearth: to excavate an ancient city.
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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
Related formsre·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. 2018

Examples from the Web for unexcavated

Historical Examples of unexcavated

  • Bapaume as Father Beckett saw it, is a Herculaneum unexcavated.

    Everyman's Land

    C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson

  • Some seventy or eighty feet is all that is visible of this limestone; the rest is unexcavated.

  • A number of buildings or clusters of rooms have been excavated in this, and others as yet unexcavated are known to be there.

    Your National Parks

    Enos A. Mills

  • Large, unexcavated ruins, magnificent canyons and mesas off the beaten path unfold the charm of this primitive region.

  • No survey of the unexcavated sites has been made, and the total number of ruins is unknown.

British Dictionary definitions for unexcavated


  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 partto excavate a tooth
  3. to unearth (buried objects) methodically in an attempt to discover information about the past
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Derived Formsexcavation, noun

Word Origin for excavate

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



1590s, from Latin excavatus, past participle of excavare "to hollow out," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + cavare "to hollow, hollow out," from cavus "cave" (see cave (n.)). Related: Excavated; excavating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper