General English

General Science

  • noun a large hole under the ground, usually in rock



  • noun a natural chamber in the side of a hill


  • a cellar, or any building where wine is stored or sold

Origin & History of “cave”

there are two English words cave which, despite their apparent similarity, are probably unrelated. The earlier, ‘underground chamber’ (13th c.), comes via Old French cave from Latin cavea, a nominal use of the adjective cavus ‘hollow’ (source also of cavern (14th c.), via Old French caverne or Latin caverna, and of cavity (16th c.), from the late Latin derivative cavitās). The verb cave (18th c.), however, as in ‘cave in’, seems to come from an earlier dialectal calve ‘collapse, fall in’, once widespread in the eastern counties of England; it has been speculated that this was borrowed from a Low German source, such as Flemish inkalven. It has subsequently, of course, been much influenced by the noun cave.