There are 2 main definitions of cave in English:


Syllabification: cave
Pronunciation: /kāv


A large underground chamber, typically of natural origin, in a hillside or cliff.
More example sentences
  • This produces stalactites and related deposits in underground caves.
  • The cavern is a natural cave carved into the rock by the sea, and widened into an underground canal by human hands.
  • The cave has two main chambers, with a series of galleries and chambers leading off them.
cavern, grotto, underground chamber;
cellar, vault, crypt


[no object] Back to top  
1Explore caves as a sport.
More example sentences
  • Most of the Polish cavers we caved with were hard.
  • Howard, Martin, Sweeny and Snablet caved back through Hang Ho into Pitch Cave to follow a lead there.
  • I found the way out quite a struggle; having not caved for 2 months I was a little out of practice.
2US short for cave in below.


Middle English: from Old French, from Latin cava, from cavus 'hollow' (compare with cavern). The usage cave in may be from the synonymous dialect expression calve in, influenced by obsolete cave 'excavate, hollow out'.

Phrasal verbs

cave in (or cave something in)

(With reference to a roof or similar structure) subside or collapse or cause something to do this: the tunnel walls caved in storms caved the roof in
More example sentences
  • The roof is caving in, and bats have taken over the empty structure.
  • Their walls were falling down and the roofs were caving in.
  • Most of the children were held in a gymnasium, and there had been explosive devices and other things, and the roof of the gymnasium caved in after a bomb apparently went off.
collapse, fall in/down, give, give way, crumble, subside
Yield or submit under pressure: the manager caved in to his demands
More example sentences
  • So instead, the government caved in to their pressure.
  • Ministers have caved in to pressure from the farming industry over one of the most controversial proposals to prevent a repeat of last year's epidemic.
  • She said the bus driver should never have let them get on if there was not enough room, and had caved in to pressure from other passengers.
yield, surrender, capitulate, submit, give in, back down, make concessions, throw in the towel



More example sentences
  • Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away from Capitol Hill, deep within the cave-like laboratories of the infamous research centre that gave birth to the A-bomb, scientists have begun work on a new, highly classified project.
  • Eventually she took my hand and drew me through a small door into a cave-like room where I was introduced to her father.
  • Fluorescent lighting illuminates the white underside of the outer shell generating a soft iridescence that evokes the mystery of a subterranean grotto, with the cave-like auditorium at its heart.


More example sentences
  • What the group of relatively inexperienced cavers didn't know was that the heavy rain of the previous few days was seeping through the porous limestone rock and would quickly fill the cavern with freezing cold, rushing water.
  • In high water conditions care is needed, but a trip through Manchester Hole, considered a classic river cave, can normally be accomplished by experienced cavers in about 30 minutes.
  • The injured man was with a group of cavers who were going through a system using ropes.

Definition of cave in:

There are 2 main definitions of cave in English:


Line breaks: cave
Pronunciation: /ˈkeɪvi/

Entry from British & World English dictionary


British informal , dated
(Among children) look out!.


Latin, imperative of cavere 'beware'.


keep cave

Act as lookout.

Definition of cave in: