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excavate

[eks-kuh-veyt] /ˈɛks kəˌveɪt/
verb (used with object), excavated, excavating.
1.
to make hollow by removing the inner part; make a hole or cavity in; form into a hollow, as by digging:
The ground was excavated for a foundation.
2.
to make (a hole, tunnel, etc.) by removing material.
3.
to dig or scoop out (earth, sand, etc.).
4.
to expose or lay bare by or as if by digging; unearth:
to excavate an ancient city.
Origin of excavate
1590-1600
1590-1600; < Latin excavātus (past participle of excavāre to hollow out), equivalent to ex- ex-1 + cav(um) hollow, cave + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
reexcavate, verb (used with object), reexcavated, reexcavating.
unexcavated, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for excavate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I am obliged to excavate a language—to loosen up its materials, then hoist them with a derrick.

    The Car That Went Abroad Albert Bigelow Paine
  • Aren't they ever going to excavate it like they did Pompeii?

  • They were men who had studied Greek history and Greek art and they planned to excavate Olympia.

    Buried Cities, Part 2 Jennie Hall
  • Mr. Van Brunt laughed, and said they were not going to excavate this house.

    The Golden House Charles Dudley Warner
  • The runs which they excavate are at a depth of about twenty to thirty centimetres below the surface of the ground.

    The Industries of Animals Frdric Houssay
  • Here, in the heart of things, they excavate a moderately roomy nest.

    The Spell of the Rockies Enos A. Mills
  • And has he been digging down here to excavate his own old bones, or have a peep to see that they are safe?'

British Dictionary definitions for excavate

excavate

/ˈɛkskəˌveɪt/
verb
1.
to remove (soil, earth, etc) by digging; dig out
2.
to make (a hole, cavity, or tunnel) in (solid matter) by hollowing or removing the centre or inner part: to excavate a tooth
3.
to unearth (buried objects) methodically in an attempt to discover information about the past
Derived Forms
excavation, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin excavāre, from cavāre to make hollow, from cavus hollow
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 excavate
v.

1590s, from Latin excavatus, past participle of excavare "to hollow out," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + cavare "to hollow, hollow out," from cavus "cave" (see cave (n.)). Related: Excavated; excavating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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