from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The practice or hobby of exploring underground caverns; caving.
  • v. Present participle of spelunk. (to explore underground caves).


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • Cave exploring.

    June 11, 2009

  • I recently discovered that this word comes from Latin (spelunca, -ae: cave). I was so shocked that I had to come here and write about it. Honestry, if I were to give a list of words that definitely weren't from Latin, this would have been pretty high up. Language can surprise us all.

    The word itself means "caving". However, within the caving community there is quite a snobbery: "caving" is reserved for the circumspect, sensible professionals, whereas "spelunking" is used for those amateurs who rush into things and need rescuing later on. Hence the bumper sticker: "Cavers rescue spelunkers".

    In any case, I love the sound of the word.

    December 14, 2007