"a hollow place in the earth, a natural cavity of considerable size and extending more or less horizontally," early 13c., from Old French cave "a cave, vault, cellar" (12c.), from Latin cavea "hollow" (place), noun use of neuter plural of adjective cavus "hollow" (from PIE root *keue- "to swell," also "vault, hole"). It displaced Old English eorðscrafu.
early 15c., caven, "to hollow something out," from cave (n.). The modern sense of "collapse in or down" is by 1707, American English, presumably from East Anglian dialectal calve "collapse, fall in and leave a hollow," which is perhaps from a Flemish word and subsequently was influenced by cave (n.). The transitive sense of "cause to collapse in or down" is by 1762. Related: Caved; caving. The figurative sense of "yield to pressure" is from 1837.
updated on November 16, 2022
Dictionary entries near cave