Definition of cavern in English:



  • 1A cave, or a chamber in a cave, typically a large one.

    • ‘Further down the cavern is the St. Joseph's Cave, where Joseph had a dream in which an angel warned him to flee to Egypt.’
    • ‘I found myself alone, standing at the entrance to a yawning limestone cavern, dazzled by dawning sunlight.’
    • ‘"Sounds like water, " Thaniel replied as they entered a large cavern.’
    • ‘Dominated by the spectacular natural arch called the Azure Window, its caves and caverns are among the most scenic dives I have encountered.’
    • ‘Through the tunnels we went, until we entered a large cavern.’
    • ‘Tunnels and caverns deep below the snowy-white building were the safest place for storing valuables.’
    • ‘Today, it is a hollow cavern offering a grim sanctuary for families displaced by their country's unending war.’
    • ‘The challenge was to abseil through a vertical fissure, with lights off, into a large underground cavern.’
    • ‘We can't wait to go back and see one of the other four caverns, Blue John Cavern but we need to give the legs a rest first!’
    • ‘As you move further into the cave there's a smaller cavern off to the right where you can see graffiti that dates back to the 16th century.’
    • ‘Yesterday these tunnels and caverns had seemed wonderful, but now the walls felt stifling and oppressive.’
    • ‘What drew these artists into sunless caverns and tunnels sometimes less than a metre high has been the subject of vigorous argument.’
    • ‘We are guided on this dive by Morne, a veteran of the lake who seems to have an uncanny knowledge of where all the best caverns and hollows are located.’
    • ‘The cavern is a natural cave carved into the rock by the sea, and widened into an underground canal by human hands.’
    • ‘It boasts a cavern and a shaft for certified cave divers, although anyone is permitted to snorkel and free dive the site.’
    • ‘While caves and caverns are characteristic features of karst areas, not all karst areas have caves.’
    • ‘I feel like I am shouting into a huge empty cavern.’
    • ‘The far end of the cavern narrowed into another tunnel, and they ran for it.’
    • ‘One or two small tunnels also exist within the walls, leading perhaps to other caverns or cave complexes, or to nowhere at all.’
    • ‘Our group spent a whirlwind two days diving the islands and experienced the full gamut of the caverns, caves and reefs that make up the Poor Knights experience.’
    large cave, grotto, hollow, cavity, underground chamber, gallery, tunnel, dugout
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Used in similes and comparisons to refer to a vast, dark space.
      ‘the dark cavern of the main performance hall’
      ‘rouses me from the cavern of sleep’
      • ‘The clear glazing admits generous daylight into the main gym hall below, transforming the huge space into a welcoming, luminous cavern.’
      • ‘It's like you're finally emerging from the deep, dark cavern of your own mind.’
      • ‘They were cumbersome, propelled by poles, and their interiors were dark caverns.’
      • ‘Peering from the dark cavern created by the overhanging hull was a huge lobster, waving deep blue pincers at us as we filed respectfully past.’
      • ‘The mind of the average politician seems to be a dark cavern of half truths, distortions and power crazy psychosis to the ordinary person in the street.’
      • ‘His and Dr. Powers' footfalls on the sidewalk were loud and vaguely hollow in the caverns of the cobbled street.’
      • ‘Lydia could feel herself falling swiftly into the dark blue caverns of Gerhard's eyes as she let herself be lulled by his painfully true words.’
      • ‘The play takes a look at the human urge to avoid looking into the vast caverns of some of life's more unanswerable questions.’
      • ‘The world is too unpredictable an arena, the mind of the wicked too dark a cavern.’
      • ‘With all rear seats in place, the boot is quite small but soon transforms into a vast cavern.’
      • ‘In some deep, dark cavern of his mind, Austin knew he had lost something too.’
      • ‘Whatever it was, she soared easily back into the wide chamber, up the steps, and out into the vast cavern where the city should have been and wasn't.’
      • ‘The sky was a dark cavern clustered with a few stars, its surface lit occasionally by a spurt of colour stretching out from a firework just released.’
      • ‘The potential of this great sport, you realised, to reach across barriers and to create ties of friendship, even from the darkest caverns of hatred, was unparalleled.’
      • ‘The sky was the roof of a vast cavern from which there was no escape.’
      • ‘Visit the Cathedrales Englouties, vast concrete caverns created in the construction of the La Defense business district to the west of Paris.’
      • ‘Healy eventually arrived in a dark cavern, lined with boxes.’
      • ‘Green lasers fire wire frame shapes across the dark, immense cavern of the Apollo.’
      • ‘For all I knew, God partook of our sins and laughed in secret from the dark caverns of the rubber plantations, exulting shamelessly in his double-facedness.’


Late Middle English: from Old French caverne or from Latin caverna, from cavus ‘hollow’. Compare with cave.