from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To cover with a pavement.
  • transitive verb To cover uniformly, as if with pavement.
  • transitive verb To be or compose the pavement of.
  • idiom (pave the way) To make progress or development easier.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cover or lay with blocks of stone or wood, or with bricks, tiles, etc., regularly disposed, and set firmly in their places so as to make a hard level surface; in general, to cover with any kind of pavement: as, to pave a street; to pave the courtyard.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To lay or cover with stone, brick, or other material, so as to make a firm, level, or convenient surface for vehicles, horses, carriages, or persons on foot, to travel on; to floor with brick, stone, or other solid material
  • transitive verb Fig.: To make smooth, easy, and safe; to prepare, as a path or way

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb UK To cover something with paving slabs
  • verb Canada, US To cover with stone, concrete, blacktop or other covering to make a road for vehicles

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a setting with precious stones so closely set that no metal shows
  • verb cover with a material such as stone or concrete to make suitable for vehicle traffic


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English paven, from Old French paver, from Latin pavīre, to beat, tread down; see pau- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French < Vulgar Latin *pavāre < Latin pavīre, present active infinitive of paviō.


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  • I notice that many of the examples are for the unusual noun form of "pave." I exchanged e-mail messages with poet Robert Haas about the noun form of "pave." Haas recently said, on the NPR program "Fresh Air," that only Walt Whitman used "pave" as a noun --- the phrase "blab of the pave" appears in "Leaves of Grass." I cited the Thackery quote from sometime before 1850.

    David Reik, West Hartford, CT

    May 3, 2010