1. A hollow or natural passage under or into the earth, especially one with an opening to the surface.
2. A storage cellar, especially for wine.
v. caved, cav·ing, caves
1. To dig or hollow out.
2. To cause to collapse or fall in. Often used with in: The impact caved in the roof of the car.
1. To fall in; collapse. Often used with in: The walls caved in during the earthquake.
2. To give up all opposition; yield. Often used with in: The school committee caved in to the demands of parents.
3. To explore caves.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin cava, from neuter pl. of cavus, hollow; see keuə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.