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[spi-luhngk] /spɪˈlʌŋk/
verb (used without object)
to explore caves, especially as a hobby.
back formation from spelunker, spelunking


[spi-luhng-ker] /spɪˈlʌŋ kər/
a person who explores caves, especially as a hobby.
1940-45; < Latin spēlunc(a) cave (≪ Greek spêlynx, stem spēlyng-, akin to spḗlaion; cf. spelaean) + -er1
Related forms
spelunking, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for spelunking
  • Well, he didn't have the energy to go spelunking tonight.
  • There are several caverns for spelunking in the hills.
  • Take advantage of this well-kept secret by practicing your spelunking there sooner rather than later.
  • Some of the past trips have included spelunking, white water rafting, horseback riding and hot-air balloon riding.
  • More advanced cavers can try rappelling and spelunking.
  • spelunking and caving, along with backpacking into remote areas to camp, are popular activities within the region.
  • With spelunking becoming an ever increasing popular sport, bats are moving from these areas to mines to avoid disturbance.
  • spelunking, the sport of cave exploring, is a popular hobby.
  • Go spelunking with a partner, and make sure you have proper working equipment.
  • For ecotourism enthusiasts, spelunking and trekking are possible activities that may put travelers at higher risk for exposure.
British Dictionary definitions for spelunking


a person whose hobby is the exploration and study of caves
Derived Forms
spelunking, noun
Word Origin
C20: from Latin spēlunca, from Greek spēlunx a cave
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for spelunking
"a cave bug; one who explores caves as a hobby," 1942, formed from obs. spelunk "cave, cavern" (c.1300), from O.Fr. spelunque, from L. spelunca "a cave, cavern, grotto," from Gk. spelynx (gen. spelyngos). An adjective, speluncar "of a cave" is recorded from 1855.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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