v. ex·ca·vat·ed, ex·ca·vat·ing, ex·ca·vates
1. To make a hole in; hollow out: excavate an ore-rich hillside.
2. To form by hollowing out.
3. To remove by digging or scooping out.
4. To expose or uncover by or as if by digging: excavate an archaeological site.
To engage in digging, hollowing out, or removing.
[Latin excavāre, excavāt-, to hollow out : ex-, ex- + cavāre, to hollow (from cavus, hollow; see keuə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.