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[eks-kuh-veyt] /ˈɛks kəˌveɪt/
verb (used with object), excavated, excavating.
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.
to make (a hole, tunnel, etc.) by removing material.
to dig or scoop out (earth, sand, etc.).
to expose or lay bare by or as if by digging; unearth:
to excavate an ancient city.
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for excavated
  • Only a few wrecked buildings are being excavated-some of them belonging to shop-owners seeking to recover their stock.
  • The vast majority of oil sands bitumen is located too deep to be economically excavated through traditional mining practices.
  • Tour sites that have been excavated as well as non-excavated ones.
  • Seven of the tombs have been excavated and made accessible to the public, one of which has its own underground atrium.
  • Hundreds of sites are in the region, some explored and excavated, others overgrown.
  • However, visitors to the area can explore some of the excavated structures that reflect how life was before the eruption.
  • The neighborhood's synagogue was located on the current site of the museum and portions of it have been excavated.
  • Some of the largest diamonds ever found were excavated here.
  • The painting was the last wall of a room-size mural to be excavated.
  • Shovel a bit of the excavated dirt over the layer of compostable materials.
British Dictionary definitions for excavated


to remove (soil, earth, etc) by digging; dig out
to make (a hole, cavity, or tunnel) in (solid matter) by hollowing or removing the centre or inner part: to excavate a tooth
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
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Word Origin and History for excavated



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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