1793, cauvaut, "to prance, bustle nimbly or eagerly," American English, of uncertain origin, sometimes said to be an alteration of curvet "a leap by a horse," a word from French that is related to curve (v.). Or perhaps from ca-, ka-, colloquial intensive prefix + vault (v.) "to jump, leap." Modern form attested by 1829. Related: Cavorted; cavorting.
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