1. A company of travelers journeying together, as across a desert or through hostile territory.
2. A single file of vehicles or pack animals.
3. A large covered vehicle; a van.
4. Chiefly British A trailer or dwelling place on wheels.
[Early Modern English, ultimately (via Old Italian caravana) from Persian kārvān, from Middle Persian kārwān, caravan, from Old Persian kāra-, army (since caravans had armed members to protect them from raiders); see koro- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.