a group of travelers, as merchants or pilgrims, journeying together for safety in passing through deserts, hostile territory, etc.
any group traveling in or as if in a caravan and using a specific mode of transportation, as pack animals or motor vehicles: a caravan of trucks; a camel caravan.
a large covered vehicle for conveying passengers, goods, a sideshow, etc.; van.
Chiefly British. a house on wheels; trailer.
verb (used with object), caravaned or caravanned, caravaning or caravanning.
to carry in or as if in a caravan: Trucks caravaned food and medical supplies to the flood's survivors.
verb (used without object), caravaned or caravanned, caravaning or caravanning.
to travel in or as if in a caravan: They caravaned through Egypt.

1590–1600; earlier carovan < Italian carovana < Persian kārwān

caravanist, noun

1. parade, procession, train, cavalcade, band. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
caravan (ˈkærəˌvæn)
1.  a.  US and Canadian name: trailer a large enclosed vehicle capable of being pulled by a car or lorry and equipped to be lived in
 b.  (as modifier): a caravan site
2.  (esp in some parts of Asia and Africa) a company of traders or other travellers journeying together, often with a train of camels, through the desert
3.  a group of wagons, pack mules, camels, etc, esp travelling in single file
4.  a large covered vehicle, esp a gaily coloured one used by Romany Gypsies, circuses, etc
vb , -vans, -vanning, -vanned
5.  (Brit) (intr) to travel or have a holiday in a caravan
[C16: from Italian caravana, from Persian kārwān]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1588, from M.Fr. caravane, from O.Fr. carouan, picked up in the Crusades from Pers. karwan "group of desert travelers." Used in Eng. for "vehicle" 17c., esp. for a covered cart. In modern British use, often a rough equivalent of the U.S. mobile home.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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